A four-month-long investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement led to the arrest two weeks ago of a Carrabelle man accused of possessing child pornography that he shared in an online chat room.

Rodney D. Helms, 57, was arrested without incident Oct. 6 at a residence he rented at 2036 Highway 98 West in Carrabelle. He was transported to the county jail, where he was charged with 25 counts of possession of child pornography. At his first appearance, County Judge Van Russell set his bond at $37,500.

According to the report filed in the sheriff’s office. Joe Prato, a special agent with FDLE, initiated his investigation in June, based on the possible unlawful possession and transmission of two unidentified images, of children under age 18, either engaged in a sex or displaying their genitals in a lewd manner on the internet.

Prato’s report said the images had been uploaded to Chatstep, an electronic internet chat service, from two Internet Protocol (IP) addresses that were leased to the resident of the Carrabelle address.

On Oct. 4, Prato obtained a search warrant for the address and two days later, he executed the warrant, where he made contact with Cynthia Stanley, a resident at the address.

Stanley agreed to waive her Miranda rights, and spoke with Prato and Special Agent Clint Beam. During the interview, Stanley told the agents that Helms was a tenant renting a unit adjacent to the main structure of her residence. She said Helms had rented from her for about eight months, “and does have access to her internet service,” according to the report.

Stanley identified for the agents a laptop inside the structure as belonging to Helms. The report indicated that an on-scene forensic analysis “resulted in locating numerous files that depicted children under the age of 18 engaged in sex acts or who were displaying their genitals in a lewd and lascivious manner.”

Prato said he reviewed 25 of the files and “verified that they were in fact child pornography,” also noting in the report that “the user account identified on the laptop was named Rodney Helms.”

The report indicated that in a later audio recorded interview, Helms admitted to using Chatstep on many occasion to both view and share child pornography.