by Heidi L. Everett
On Dec. 22, Murray Allen Dirks, 44, of St. Joseph, was convicted of a felony and sentenced to more than 11 years in prison for disseminating pornographic work. This was his fifth conviction.
Dirks was initially convicted for actions in May and June 2016 in which he engaged in electronic communication relating or describing sexual conduct with a child. In addition, he was charged with soliciting a child via the internet.
According to the first criminal complaint, in January 2017 a Facebook employee notified authorities that Dirks and a 15-year-old boy were exchanging pictures of their private parts and that Dirks told the teen he wanted to have sex with someone under the age of 18.
Additional charges were filed after a search of Dirks’ home in March 2017 uncovered a cell phone that contained images of children ages three to 10.
A plea agreement led to a March 2019 sentence of up to five years in prison; however prison time was stayed, and Dirks received five years of supervised probation. Dirks also had to register as a predatory offender and refrain from any contact with minors, among other conditions.
In Oct. 2020, Dirks was charged with disseminating pornographic work. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 140 months in prison with credit for 79 days served.