Harry Hamm, shown in a booking photo, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography.
On the radio for more than four decades, Harry Hamm was a familiar voice on St. Louis airwaves.
In private, he was trolling the internet in search of sexually explicit images of children. The 79-year-old former KMOX broadcaster pleaded guilty on Wednesday to federal charges of possessing child porn. State charges that allege his habits extended to sexually abusing a child are still pending in St. Louis County.
Hamm, whose last job was as KMOX's entertainment editor, was arrested in April 2019
by St. Ann police after his family turned him in.
The FBI soon joined the investigation and searched multiple devices used by Hamm, including three iPhones and his work laptop and iPad. A plea agreement filed on Wednesday revealed that an FBI agent uncovered deleted search histories for child porn as well as dozens of illicit photos.
"Altogether, the defendant possessed 57 unique images of child pornography," prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's Office in St. Louis wrote. "Some of the images depicted prepubescent minor children engaged in sexually explicit conduct, and some depicted sadistic or masochistic conduct, or other acts of violence."
A Navy vet and commercial pilot, Hamm started at KMOX in 1975 and soon became a brash and chatty fixture in St. Louis, interviewing A-list celebrities such as Harrison Ford and Julia Roberts. He also championed the arts and charitable fundraising for sick kids. He was fired by the radio station after his arrest and languished in St. Louis County's jail while he tried to scrape together bail money in the state case.
In one of his early court appearances, he claimed to be befuddled by jailhouse phones
and asked to be released on house arrest so he could search for a private attorney from the familiar confines of his Chesterfield home. But the plea agreement reveals Hamm was more technologically savvy than he let on, toggling through multiple devices and deleting search histories for terms such as "pthc," which federal prosecutors say stands for "preteen hard core."
Hamm kept a cache of photos in an account through the Canada-based photo-storing site Shoebox, authorities say.
Even at his new, disheveled low, Hamm maintained an arrogance and sense of his own grandiosity, pointing out a reporter to a fellow inmate during one court appearance and claiming that the RFT
was profiling him for a cover story. (We weren't.)
St. Ann police said Hamm's family contacted them in April 2019 with accusations that he was sexually abusing a young relative. Hamm was subsequently charged with statutory sodomy, incest and possession of child porn in that case which is being tried in state court.
A case management hearing on those charges has been scheduled for Friday morning in St. Louis County.
In the federal child porn possession case, Hamm is scheduled to be sentenced on April 26.
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