A Mills man was charged with possession of child pornography after his roommate saw images on a thumb drive and reported him to police, according to court documents.

Joseph Murphy, 30, heard the single count of sexual exploitation of children-possession of child pornography during his initial appearance in Natrona County Circuit Court on Tuesday.

Circuit Court Judge Steven Brown set his bond at $20,000 and ordered him to have no contact with minors. Within several weeks, Murphy will have a preliminary hearing to determine whether his case should be bound over to state district court for trial.

If found guilty, he faces up to 10 years imprisonment.

According to an affidavit filed with circuit court, Murphy's roommate found a flash drive with images believed to be nude females about 12 yeas old. Murphy destroyed the flash drive with a hammer and buried it.

The roommate reported the incident to Mills police in December.

Murphy told police he had not looked at the images for a long time, from perhaps August to two years ago.

He said he obtained the images from a website when he lived in Syracuse, N.Y. Murphy had heard the website had been shut down and decided to look because he was curious in part because he had been raised in a family of pedophiles and had been sexually abused as a child, according to the affidavit.

Murphy was curious if he was "'like them,'" adding the images "'did nothing for him,'" according to the affidavit.

A forensic investigation of the images found on his computer's hard drive found 4,498 images of child erotica and 102 "child notable images," or illegal child pornography.

The government regards child pornography as a crime of violence because it involves sometimes brutal assaults on children who cannot give consent to sexual activity.