Friday, August 1, 2014

Heber Springs gym operator pleads to child porn charge

Posted By on Fri, Aug 1, 2014 at 6:43 AM

The U.S. attorney's office said Thursday that Matthew Tinkle, 27, who had owned Tinkle's Tumblers, a gymnastics business in Heber Springs, pleaded guilty to receipt of child pornography. In a plea agreement, additional charges were dropped.

Conviction on the single charge will be enhanced for Tinkle's use of a computer, abuse of a position of trust and engaging in a pattern of abusive or exploitative behavior. He'll have to register as a sex offender.

The investigation began in 2012 when local police were told Tinkle had molested a 13-year-old he'd met at his gym. He allowed her to use the gym for free. She said she'd sent him nude photos by cell phone. These photos met the definition of child pornography, the government said. He sent her photos of himself nude as well. 

He'd earlier pleaded no contest to a state rape charge and received a 10-year sentence in a negotiated plea. He faces no less than five years and up to 20 on the federal charge.

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