Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, First Division
from the Circuit Court of St. Charles County Honorable Daniel
T. QUIGLESS, J.
A. Fodrini Jr. ("Fodrini") appeals from the
judgment of the Circuit Court of St. Charles County following
a bench trial in which he was convicted of one count of
promoting child pornography in the second degree and
twenty-four counts of possession of child pornography. On
appeal, Fodrini only contests his conviction for promoting
child pornography in the second degree. Fodrini argues the
circuit court erred in finding him guilty of this offense
because the court did not require the State to prove
Fodrini's culpable mental state when he unintentionally
and unknowingly provided child pornography to a police
officer. We affirm.
and Procedural History
in the light most favorable to the circuit court's
judgment, the following evidence was presented at trial.
See State v. Chaney, 460 S.W.3d 13, 14 (Mo. App.
November 2014, Sergeant Adam Kavanaugh ("Sergeant
Kavanaugh") of the St. Louis County Police Department
identified a computer that was offering to distribute child
pornography over the internet by means of a peer-to-peer
file-sharing program called Ares. Sergeant Kavanaugh
successfully downloaded three images from the computer, two
of which he determined were child pornography. After
investigating the internet protocol (or "IP")
address associated with the computer, police confirmed the IP
address was located at Fodrini's residence.
on this evidence, on February 3, 2015, detectives with the
St. Charles County Cyber Crime Task Force executed a search
warrant at Fodrini's residence. The detectives informed
Fodrini that they were investigating the possession and
distribution of child pornography, and were looking for
electronic devices in his home. During the search, the
detectives seized Fodrini's personal computer as well as
a thumb drive he had hidden in a nightstand. After agreeing
to speak with the detectives, Fodrini admitted installing the
Ares program on his computer, and using Ares to search for
and download files containing child pornography. However,
Fodrini stated he did not realize that Ares was a
file-sharing program, or that other Ares users could access
and download child pornography from his computer. Fodrini
stated he had since deleted Ares from his computer because he
"tried it" and "didn't really understand
it." Fodrini could not recall when he deleted Ares,
though, he stated he had the program for four or five months.
The detectives subsequently arrested Fodrini.
forensic examination of Fodrini's computer revealed he
had previously installed Ares and downloaded files containing
child pornography from other Ares users. While the Ares
program and the files had since been deleted from
Fodrini's computer, police were able to recover evidence
of complete and incomplete downloads of child pornography as
well as the graphic names of the files. Police also recovered
the search terms Fodrini used to search for child pornography
within Ares. Additionally, police found various terms Fodrini
used to search Google for child pornography as well as
bookmarked images depicting child pornography. Moreover, a
forensic examination of the thumb drive revealed it contained
4, 200 images and approximately twenty-seven videos of
State charged Fodrini with one count of promoting child
pornography in the second degree, in violation of Section
573.035 RSMo 2000 (Cum. Supp. 2009),  and twenty-four counts of
possession of child pornography, in violation of Section
573.037 RSMo 2000 (Cum. Supp. 2013). A bench trial was held.
The State presented evidence that the purpose of the Ares
program is to download and share files with other Ares users.
Once Ares is installed, files downloaded through the program
are automatically transferred to a "shared" folder
on the user's desktop and, by default, are made available
to other Ares users to download. Although the user has the
option to change the default settings to prevent file
sharing, in this case, Fodrini did not change the settings,
which made the files in his "shared" folder
available to other Ares users, and allowed Sergeant Kavanaugh
to access and download the images of child pornography. By
contrast, Fodrini's theory of defense was that he was
unaware of Ares's default settings or that it was a
file-sharing program, and, therefore, he could not have
knowingly provided child pornography to Sergeant
to entering judgment, the circuit court asked the parties for
additional briefing to address the issue of "how the use
of a peer-to-peer file sharing network in this particular
case complies with promoting, possession with intent to
promote, and/or to promote child pornography." After the
parties submitted their briefs, the circuit court found
Fodrini guilty on all counts. At the sentencing hearing, the
circuit court stated, "The facts in the trial were thin
on promoting but . . . it was resolved by reference to case
law and statute." The circuit court sentenced Fodrini to
concurrent terms of one year imprisonment for promoting child
pornography, and ten years' imprisonment for each count
of possession of child pornography. This appeal follows.
reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence in a court-tried
case, an appellate court's role is limited to determining
whether the State presented sufficient evidence from which a
trier of fact could have reasonably found the defendant
guilty. State v. Brooks, 446 S.W.3d 673, 674 (Mo.
banc 2014). This Court accepts as true all evidence favorable
to the State, including all favorable inferences drawn
therefrom, and disregards all evidence and inferences to the
contrary. State v. Wurtzberger, 265 S.W.3d 329, 335
(Mo. App. E.D. 2008). Circumstantial evidence is given the
same weight as direct evidence in considering the sufficiency
of the evidence. State v. Cerna, 522 S.W.3d 373, 378
(Mo. App. E.D. 2017).
reviewing the sufficiency of evidence supporting a criminal
conviction, the Court does not act as a 'super juror'
with veto powers, but gives great deference to the trier of
fact." State v. Nash, 339 S.W.3d 500, 509 (Mo.
banc 2011) (quoting State v. Chaney, 967 S.W.2d 47,
52 (Mo. banc 1998)). Further, "this Court will not weigh
the evidence anew since 'the fact-finder may believe all,
some, or none of the testimony of a witness when considered
with the facts, circumstances and other testimony in the