Prosecutors and authorities in two states — and a federal prosecutor’s office — found “no criminal violations” after reviewing the matter, a spokesperson for the St. Charles County police department said.
Top Notch Lawn Care / Via youtube.com
Authorities in Missouri told BuzzFeed News Thursday that they found “no criminal violations” after investigating Greg Chism and his terminated YouTube channel Toy Freaks.
The channel — which had amassed over 8 million subscribers before YouTube, under pressure, shut it down in November — featured his young daughters pretending to be babies and engaging in infantile behavior. In one, Chism seemingly terrified one of his daughters, who in the bathtub wearing a swimsuit, with a frog and lobster.
“The St. Charles County Cyber Crimes Task Force looked into your inquiries regarding Gregory Chism and the Toy Freaks YouTube channel,” a spokesperson for the St. Charles County, Missouri police department told BuzzFeed News Thursday afternoon.
“In a cooperative effort with the Granite City Illinois Police Department, and after consulting with prosecutors in Illinois, Missouri and the US Attorney’s Office, it has been determined there were no criminal violations,” the spokesperson said. Adding, “St. Charles County Police Department is not investigating Mr. Chism or the Toy Freaks YouTube channel.”
Last month, BuzzFeed News reported that authorities in Granite City, Illinois said there was an “ongoing investigation” in regards to Chism and the footage — but no agency would publicly say it had taken the lead.
“This is an on-going investigation and will not comment further at this time,” Detective Lieutenant Nick Novacich of the Granite City police department told BuzzFeed News on Nov. 28. “We will advise you, through our State’s Attorney’s office, if charges are going to be filed.”
Joel Green, Chism’s lawyer said on Nov. 22 that they would cooperate with law enforcement if an investigation began. Green didn't immediately answer a request for comment on Thursday.
YouTube said that the company was not aware of any law enforcement authorities that reached out to Google, its parent company, about the videos and did not answer follow-up questions at the time. YouTube didn't immediately return a request for comment Thursday.
A representative from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services told BuzzFeed News last month that the family no longer lives in Illinois “and we have contacted the Missouri Department of Children and Families hotline about the concerns raised in these inquiries.”
Rebecca Woelfel, the communications director for the Missouri Department of Social Services, told BuzzFeed News three times that the agency could not comment due to confidentiality. Woelfel did not immediately return BuzzFeed News' most recent request for comment.
In previous statements to BuzzFeed News, Illinois-based prosecutors and authorities had expressed concern over the footage
“I think it is fair to say that we were all alarmed by the bizarre content of the videos,” said Tom Gibbons, Madison County state's attorney on Nov. 29.
“Everyone is disturbed by this but finding the proper criminal aspect to being a bad parent at times is challenging,” Granite City Police Chief Rich Miller said at the time.