A 39-year-old Craig man arrested in January on suspicion of sexual exploitation of a child now faces sexual assault charges in another jurisdiction.
According to court records, the suspect is charged in Fremont County with two counts of sexual assault on a child from a person in a position of trust — victim under 15, and two counts of sexual assault on a child — pattern of abuse, all Class 3 felonies.
Freemont County authorities filed an affidavit for a warrant for the suspect’s arrest in February while he was in custody at Moffat County Jail. Formal charges were filed March 19, according to court records.
The suspect, whose name is being withheld in accordance with newspaper policy not to release identities of suspected sexual offenders unless convicted, is scheduled to appear April 25 in Fremont County Court for a status hearing.
According to court records, Fremont County authorities began investigating the Craig resident in January 2007.
However, the probe stalled when the suspect could not be located, Craig Police Commander Bill Leonard said.
When local authorities contacted Fremont County as part of its investigation, Fremont’s investigation was able to proceed, leading to the suspect’s arrest, Leonard said.
The suspect was arrested in Craig following a December 2011 joint investigation by the Craig Police Department, Moffat County Sheriff’s Office and FBI into distribution of child pornography, according to a news release from the police department following the arrest.
According to court records, the Craig man is charged in Moffat County Court with two counts of sexual exploitation of a child, both Class 3 felonies, and two counts of sexual exploitation of a child — video/20-plus items, Class 4 felonies.
The suspect is scheduled to appear at 11 a.m. April 3 in Moffat County Court for a review hearing.
According to an arrest affidavit written by Craig Police Det. Jen Kenney, who is in charge of the investigation in Craig, an FBI agent contacted Craig Police concerning a report of child pornography the agent had received.
The FBI’s involvement stemmed from a report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The agency marked a graphic image of a girl 3 to 5 years old that was later linked back to the 39-year-old Craig man’s Bresnan account.
Moffat County Judge Sandra Gardner granted authorities a search warrant for the suspect’s home. The search took place Dec. 28, 2011.
The search produced “several ‘known images’ of child pornography,” according to the police department’s release.
“’Known images’ are pictures that have been confirmed as child pornography by worldwide investigators and have been electronically marked for identification,” police officials reported.
No local children have been linked to the case at this point, but the investigation is ongoing, Leonard said.
Authorities also seized other items from the suspect’s home, including cell phones, computers, a digital camera, iPod, DVDs, CDs, MP3 player, cable modem and router, among other items.
According to the affidavit, the suspect told Kenney there were more than 100 pornographic images and videos of children on his desktop computer — all downloaded by him.
“He stated that he had been ‘addicted’ to pornography from the age of 15-16, and shortly after looking at adult pornography he began to collect and view child pornography,” Kenney wrote of the interview with the suspect.
He also told the investigator, according to the affidavit, that children in images collected on his desktop were both genders and ranged in age from infants to children about 15 years old.
Additionally, the suspect told Kenney he met people on websites and they would exchange images from their collections.
He gave authorities email accounts, passwords and permission to access the accounts to view the information, according to the affidavit.
“He stated that he hoped that we could use the information to help others because he was now reaching out for help with his addiction,” Kenney wrote in the affidavit.
Leonard said he believes the FBI is using information provided by the suspect to investigate other potential predators around the country, but he couldn’t comment specifically about possible open investigations.
A spokesperson for the FBI, per agency policy, could not comment on open investigations.
Click here to have the print version of the Craig Daily Press delivered to your home.