SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (CN) - A Missouri woman faces 10 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to posting nude photos of her stepdaughter on the girl's Facebook page and changing the teen's password so she couldn't remove them.
Michelle R. McCoy, 49, of Carl Junction, pleaded guilty Tuesday to possessing child pornography. Carl Junction is in southwest Missouri, near Joplin.
McCoy posted images of her stepdaughter's "nude breast and vagina in a variety of sexual poses" on Facebook in May 2014 after taking the girl's cell phone away six weeks earlier after an argument, according to the plea agreement.
During the squabble, the 15-year-old girl, "A.R.," begged McCoy to let her download her pictures and contact list but McCoy refused and absconded with A.R.'s phone.
Six weeks later, A.R. learned from friends and family members that they'd seen nude photos of her in sexual poses on her own Facebook page.
Around the same time, McCoy texted A.R. and asked how she'd feel if the nude photographs on her iPhone showed up on her Facebook page. McCoy gained access to the Facebook page through A.R.'s iPhone, according to the plea agreement.
When A.R. tried to log in to her Facebook account to take the photos down, her password had been changed and she had to create a new password to shut down the account.
Carl Junction police contacted McCoy, who admitted she had A.R.'s iPhone but refused to hand it over until officers obtained a search warrant a week later.
A police forensics investigation revealed that McCoy had uploaded the "child pornography images" of A.R, taken when A.R. was 14 or 15. McCoy's cell phone also contained nude images of A.R. that McCoy texted to herself when she borrowed A.R.'s phone earlier to run an update on it.
Police discovered text messages McCoy sent to A.R. the day before she took the phone. In those texts, McCoy taunted A.R. about posing in "pink fishnets," told her she was going to inquire about getting A.R. on the MTV reality show "15 and Pregnant" and asked, "Wonder what your family would think of those photos?"
McCoy's biological daughter and A.R.'s step-sister, Marlee Arehart, tipped off the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in February 2015. Arehart told Joplin police she became aware of the nude pictures shortly before they were posted when her mother displayed them at a family gathering.
"Marlee told McCoy that it was disgusting and she did not want to see it," the plea agreement states. "McCoy also told Marlee that she had the pictures on her laptop. After pictures were posted, McCoy told Marlee that she had posted the pictures and changed A.R.'s Facebook password so A.R. would not be able to take them down."
McCoy, who must register as a sex offender, faces up to 10 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and five years of supervised release. She must also forfeit to the government the Apple iPhone and Apple MacBook Pro laptop used to commit the offense.
A sentencing hearing date has not yet been scheduled.
The government agreed in the plea agreement not to bring any more child pornography charges against McCoy. But in the next paragraph it adds, without explanation: "The defendant understands that this plea agreement does not foreclose any prosecution for an act of murder or attempted murder, an act or attempted act of physical or sexual violence against the person of another, or a conspiracy to commit any such acts of violence or any criminal activity of which the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri has no knowledge."