Craig Rhoden (Greene County Jail)

A Springfield man charged with child pornography has said, according to police, he took upskirt photos of children at the Walmart where he worked, 2825 N. Kansas Expressway, and shared those images with others interested in child pornography.

Craig A. Rhoden, 55, was arrested Jan. 5 and is in the Greene County jail, being held without bond.

A bond hearing was scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Jan. 18, before Associate Circuit Judge Mark Powell.

According to court documents, Springfield police officer Tom Hicks asked Rhoden if he had taken upskirt images of children at Walmart that were later uploaded. The officer wrote:

“Rhoden said he had taken the photos and had uploaded them. Rhoden stated (at the time of the interview) he worked at the Walmart at 2825 N. Kansas Expwy.”

According to police, he bought spy cameras

Court documents state that police found information in their investigation that indicates Rhoden purchased two spy cameras.

“Rhoden stated he had purchased two spy cameras but had not been able to get them to work.”

He is charged with possession of child pornography and promoting child pornography, both are Class B felonies. Those guilty of a Class B felony face 5 to 15 years in prison.

According to court documents, Rhoden told police he likely had thousands of images of child pornography, some involving infants and pre-pubescent children involved in sex acts with adults.

Court documents indicate police found emails from Rhoden in which he discussed performing sexual acts with adults in exchange for their children’s underwear.

Rhoden added he had not had sexual contact with any of the children whose underwear he received, according to court documents.

“Rhoden denied ever sexually assaulting a child or participating in sexual conversations with a child,” according to court documents.

He has entered a plea of not guilty

He pleaded not guilty on Jan. 11.

According to court documents, “Rhoden said he was not necessarily attracted to children, but was excited about child pornography because it was taboo.”

As of Tuesday night, Rhoden’s Facebook page was still public.

It included innocuous videos taken at the Walmart at 2825 N. Kansas Expressway.

He posted a meme Feb. 15, 2021, that appears to urge people to be kinder to retail workers during COVID.

One item on the meme’s list states: “Stop talking to the cashiers about how scary it is. They’re aware. Some are literally children. Stop spreading fear. Please.”

Someone responded 13 hours after the post was made.

It had not been deleted and was there Tuesday night. It said:

“This one in particular was busy hiding cameras to exploit and get off on images of our children. You’re beyond disgusting Craig.”

Steve Pokin

Steve Pokin writes the Pokin Around and The Answer Man columns for the Springfield Daily Citizen. He also writes about criminal justice issues. He can be reached at spokin@sgfcitizen.org. His office line is 417-837-3661. More by Steve Pokin