Mother, boyfriend plead not guilty in child porn case

2013-03-11T20:22:00Z 2013-06-06T20:13:36Z Mother, boyfriend plead not guilty in child porn caseLu Ann Franklin Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
March 11, 2013 8:22 pm  • 

HAMMOND | Two Gary residents charged with selling and buying a child to create pornography pleaded not guilty during their arraignments in federal court Monday.

Christopher M. Bour, 39, and Natisha Hillard, 24, shuffled into the courtroom of U.S. District Magistrate Judge Andrew Rodovich handcuffed and shackled around the ankles and waist.

They are being held without bail at the Porter County Jail.

Hillard is charged with selling her 18-month-old daughter for the production of child pornography and permitting the child to participate in its production, according to the indictment. Visvaldis Kupsis is Hillard’s court-appointed attorney.

Bour is charged with buying a child to produce child pornography, producing child pornography and possessing child pornography featuring a minor younger than 12, according to an indictment filed last Wednesday in federal court. He is represented by court-appointed attorney Ashwin Cattamanchi.

The attorneys told Rodovich their clients are competent to understand the charges and to stand trial.

During the arraignment, Bour, with shaved head and dressed in gray striped jail attire, sat straight and still in the chair next to his attorney, occasionally leaning over to answer questions.

By contrast, Hillard, in red jail attire, rocked in the chair, sighed and frequently looked up at the courtroom ceiling while waiting for Rodovich to enter.

Both defendants are set to stand trial beginning May 13 in Judge Rudy Lozano’s courtroom. The trial begins the day after Mother’s Day.

According to the complaint, Hillard met Bour through a dating service. Officials began investigating Bour after an unidentified woman who ran a massage business reported to the FBI in February that Bour sent her text messages indicating a child was going to be sexually exploited, those records state.

The woman also told the FBI that when she did a house call at Bour's home, she saw three child pornography movies play on a laptop, the records state.

The court documents indicate Hillard's face is visible in one of the pornographic images, and her hands are seen holding the infant in at least three pornographic images.

Officials found the images on Bour's computer Feb. 22, according to court documents. A review of Bour's cellphone also found a text message sent to Hillard asking for a picture of the toddler, according to the complaint.

Detectives traced the text to Hillard's cellphone, court records indicate. Authorities said her photo from the Department of Motor Vehicles also matched with the photo of the adult woman seen in the pornographic image.

Officials are still unsure if the pornographic images were captured at Hillard's or Bour's houses, according to court records. The complaint didn't state how much money or what items Hillard may have received.

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