A local man was arrested in late November on charges of distributing and possessing child pornography following a five-month investigation by the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.
Casey Curtis Williams, 26, of unincorporated Pitkin County, faces charges of sexual exploitation of a child (distribution), a class III felony, and sexual exploitation of a child (possession), a class IV felony, according to an arrest warrant.
A forensic laboratory allegedly found 35 images and video files of child pornography on Williams’ laptop computer, which was seized during the execution of a search warrant.
Williams is employed at the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport as an operations officer, said airport Director Jim Elwood. Elwood referred a question about whether Williams, who has been in the operations position for about two years, is actively working or has been placed on leave to the Pitkin County human resources department.
“I’m going to kick this over to [human resources],” he said. “I’m not at liberty to discuss this with it being a personnel issue.”
Human resources officials did not return a message late Thursday.
Elwood said airport officials had not been notified of the charges Williams faces.
Operations officers typically respond to airplane accidents, inspect the grounds to ensure compliance with federal, state and local regulations, and enforce safety rules, among other duties.
“He’s not around children,” Elwood said of Williams.
The investigation began on June 28, when detective Kyle Hall of the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office used a computer detection program called E-Phex, which automatically scans websites known to be broadcasting child pornography, according to an arrest warrant by Eagle County detective Brian Hollenbaugh.
The program further identifies the Internet protocol (IP) addresses of computers browsing and downloading the material. The E-Phex program captured a “globally unique identifier,” or GUID, a reference number that can help track an application, file, database entry, and/or user, according to webopedia.com. GUIDs can also be assigned to a user’s browser to record and track an online session, the website says.
Hall obtained a history that “showed this GUID to be associated with seven files suspected of being child pornography dating from Saturday, June 16, 2012, to Saturday, June 23, 2012,” the warrant says.
Hall then was able to track the IP address to Comcast Cable Communications Inc., Hollenbaugh wrote, and the detective used E-Phex to download a file that the IP address was making available.
“The computer at IP address [redacted] was the sole candidate for this download, and, as such, the entire file was downloaded directly from this IP address,” the warrant says.
Comcast, responding to a court order to produce records, told police that the IP address had been assigned to Williams, according to the warrant, which redacted his physical address, phone number and email. Williams is not listed in the phone book.
Hall and Hollenbaugh executed a search warrant for Williams’ residence in unincorporated Pitkin County on July 19. Williams allegedly told Hall that he owned the laptop, which was the only computer inside the home, the arrest warrant says.
The laptop was seized as evidence and sent to the Rocky Mountain Regional Forensic Laboratory for analysis. Efforts to reach Hall and Hollenbaugh about the investigation, including why four months went by between the search warrant being carried out and the obtaining of the arrest warrant in November, were unsuccessful Thursday.
But the time it took for the forensic laboratory to do a “complete” analysis might have been a factor. The analysis allegedly showed 20 video files and 15 images of child pornography on Williams’ computer.
One video showed an adult male attempting to rape a prepubescent female child and other acts of child pornography, the warrant says.
The arrest warrant was signed by an Eagle County judge on Nov. 20.
Williams’ arrest follows the Dec. 20 arrest of part-time Aspen resident Aedan Teague Hopper, 20. He faces six felony counts related to his alleged possession of child pornography. It’s unknown if his case and that of Williams’ are related.