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ST. PETERS – A sex offender used a St. Peters unemployment office computer at least three times to view child pornography, authorities say.

Richard J. Morelan, 44, of the 1900 block of North Warson Road in unincorporated St. Louis County, was charged Wednesday with one count of child porn possession of more than 20 images.

St. Charles County police say officers on Tuesday were called to the Missouri Job Center at 212 Turner Boulevard, where the center's director indicated Morelan had been sitting at a computer terminal facing away from them, court records say.

Officers approached Morelan and found his computer screen with several open web browser tabs showing pictures of child pornography, charges say. Morelan told police "he did not feel the images were child pornographic in nature due to the camera focal point not being on the genitalia."

The officers' descriptions of the images in court documents were of children engaged in sex acts with adults, however.

Morelan told police he goes to the job center to pay bills and attend group meetings for sex offenders, charges said. Police said their investigation revealed Morelan viewing child pornography at the facility on Aug. 1, 5 and 6.

Morelan's criminal history includes multiple convictions in St. Louis County of statutory sodomy, child molestation, child abuse and child porn possession for crimes dating back to 1998.

Morelan was being held at the St. Charles County Jail on a $20,000 bail. No lawyer was listed for Morelan in court records.

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