By Shereen Siewert

A 29-year-old Marathon County man is facing criminal charges after a cybertip sent from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children led to the discovery of explicit photos and videos on his electronic devices.

Zachary Lemmer, of Athens, allegedly told police he accessed the material through online chat rooms and on Kik, a social media platform popular with young people. Police and prosecutors have repeatedly cautioned parents about the potential dangers of Kik, which allows chatting with random strangers and has become a window for sexual predators to reach out to children and exploit them with few – if any – security measures in place.

According to the criminal complaint, local police received the cybertip on June 23 and traced the material found to Lemmer’s address, prompting them to obtain a search warrant for the property. During the Aug. 11 search, detectives seized an iPhone and MacBook computer for a forensic examination, which revealed multiple photos and video of prepubescent girls engaging in sexual activity, according to the criminal complaint.

Lemmer, who is not in custody, will be summoned into court Wednesday for an initial appearance on a single count of possessing child pornography, a felony charge punishable by up to 25 years in state prison, a maximum fine of $100,000, or both.