‘Maybe a handful,’ Lawrence man allegedly tells police when asked how many child pornography images he downloaded, according to affidavit

photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World

The Douglas County Judicial and Law Enforcement Center is pictured in March of 2022. The center houses the Douglas County District Court and other county services.

A Lawrence man allegedly told police that he had downloaded “maybe a handful” of pornographic images of young girls to use for sexual gratification, according to a recently released police affidavit.

The man, Joseph Alexander Dibben, 22, has been charged in Douglas County District Court with one felony count of exploitation of a child by possessing a photograph of a child in the nude, according to charging documents. The charge is in connection with an incident on April 26, 2020.

Lawrence police were first alerted to Dibben’s alleged possession of child pornography after they received a tip from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. The center had passed along an image that was screenshot by an account on Snapchat by a user with the name “whiteboy549,” according to the affidavit in support of Dibben’s arrest.

The tip provided a Lawrence police detective an email address attached to the Snapchat account that was associated with Dibben, and an IP (internet protocol) address in Lawrence. The detective visited the residence associated with the IP address on Aug. 3, 2020, and spoke to a resident, asking if Dibben was home and if the resident knew of the email account. The resident said no to both questions, but said she would ask Dibben about it, according to the affidavit.

About a week later, on Aug. 11, 2020, the resident called the detective to say that she had not spoken to Dibben about the matter but that she discovered that Dibben used the email address in question on his video game system.

The detective met Dibben on Aug. 16, 2020, and Dibben said that he didn’t know “a whole lot” about the child pornography that had allegedly been downloaded at his address but confirmed that the Snapchat account was his, though he no longer had access to the account, and he was not “1000% sure” how the images were downloaded, according to the affidavit.

Throughout the course of the interview the detective asked Dibben about his pornography habits and whether he had ever seen child pornography in general appear in his searches, to which Dibben replied “I may have, I’m not 100% sure,” according to the affidavit.

The detective pressed Dibben on the specific image that was downloaded on the “whiteboy549” snapchat account, and asked whether Dibben could recall how many total images he downloaded using that account.

“Maybe a handful,” Dibben replied, according to the affidavit.

The detective then asked if Dibben intentionally downloaded the images, to which Dibben said that it was probably something he “stumbled across” when he was “drunk,” according to the affidavit.

Dibben told the detective that after downloading the images he would delete them because he didn’t want to be seen viewing child pornography, according to the affidavit, and when asked if he used the photos for sexual gratification Dibben answered “probably so.”

The detective then asked Dibben what the other images that he downloaded consisted of, to which Dibben “drew a breath and said “not so good stuff,” according to the affidavit. Dibben said the pornographic images were typically of “little girls,” according to the affidavit.

Dibben was arrested in connection with the charge on Aug. 24, and is currently free on a $5,000 surety bond. As a condition of his bond he is not permitted to own or possess electronic devices that can access the internet. He is next scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 27 for a status conference.