MADISON COUNTY, Ind. – An Elwood man is now charged with child exploitation after investigators said they found evidence of him sending sexual images to a 14-year-old girl.
Court records detailed that 20-year-old Tate Andrew Hamm was charged with child exploitation, Level 5 Felony and dissemination of matter harmful to minors, Level 6 Felony.
Police said they were contacted by the Department of Child Services about a potential illegal text message chain between Hamm and the minor girl.
Investigators were able to seize the cellphone of the girl and found chat groups and messages between the girl and Hamm. In the phone, Hamm’s contact had the nickname of “daddy” in several groups and instances.
Beside the nickname was a picture that matched the Facebook profile picture of “Tate Hamm.”
Some of the messages retrieved said things such as: “I can’t be seen with you tate im sorry but we can’t hangout” followed by a response from Hamm of “why.”
Court documents stated investigators also saw messages from Hamm saying, “I Love U” and “Good morning beautiful queen.”
On July 1 there were a couple of missed calls and a message from the girl stating to “send them on here.” Those messages were followed by Hamm sending a picture of his genitals to the girl and then him asking her to send pictures in return.
The girl did later send a picture back to Hamm.
In an interview with the victim, she told investigators that Hamm originally identified as a “16-year-old” and that he lied about his age to her and her mother. She added that she met the man through a friend.
The girl said that she hung out with Hamm for the first time in June after introducing him to her mother. She added that Hamm had even spent the night, though she slept in a “separate room.”
The probable cause stated that later the girl and mother found out Hamm’s true age through his cousin and after confronting the 20-year-old, he got “mad and left the area.”
Officers tried to find Hamm at his last known residence but the man who lived there said Hamm did used to stay there but left after “everything was made public.”
Hamm was later charged with child exploitation and dissemination of matter harmful to minors. He is also charged with two counts of sexual misconduct with a minor, Level 5 Felony in a separate case filed on Aug. 24.
An initial court hearing has not been set.