A part-time Aspen resident arrested in December now faces 27 felony charges related to his alleged possession of child pornography, including 16 counts of having video or 20 or more items that qualify as sexually exploitative material.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Andrea Bryan on April 9 filed a motion to add 21 new counts against Aedan Teague Hopper, 20.
The Rocky Mountain Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory recently provided new evidence, leading to the additional charges, she said. His computer was seized when he was arrested.
In addition to the 16-video related counts, Hopper is charged with: six counts of sexual exploitation of children — induce or entice; three counts of sexual exploitation of children — sell or publish; and one count each of unlawful sexual contact and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Aspen police allege that Hopper repeatedly asked young children for nude pictures of themselves. He was initially arrested on five counts of sexual exploitation of a child and a related charge.
Hopper allegedly admitted to an Aspen police detective that he had images of child pornography on his computer. He described himself as a pedophile and “social leper” in a conversation with the detective, the arrest warrant says.
The investigation into Hopper, an unemployed catering assistant who was attending school in Boulder at the time of his arrest, began Nov. 15. That day, a staff member at Crisis Intervention of Houston contacted Detective Bruce Benjamin of the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.
The Crisis Intervention organization provided a report that said a person “utilizing our Teenlink chat service reached out to us for counseling,” the warrant says. The Teenlink chat service is an online, one-on-one chat room for teens to discuss problems anonymously with an adult counselor, according to an overview of Crisis Intervention’s operations.
Benjamin handed over the case to Aspen police later in November.
The person using the chat service said he had “a friend [who] has an attraction toward very young girls,” Aspen police Detective Ian MacAyeal wrote in the warrant, citing the Crisis Intervention report.
It’s unclear if the person using the Teenlink service actually was a friend of Hopper’s or Hopper himself.
The person also said on the Teenlink chat service that his friend “has asked for naked pictures” of a child, MacAyeal’s warrant says. “When I pointed out that what he asked for is illegal, [he] said that [he] knew that, and had considered telling police ...,” the person told the chat service adult, according to the warrant.
Using internet provider addresses from Crisis Intervention, Benjamin was apparently able to find a connection to Hopper.
Hopper, who is being represented by Aspen attorney Beth Krulewitch, is free after his mother posted a $20,000 bond. He appeared in court on Monday with his attorney and was advised of the amended criminal complaint against him.
When police interviewed Hopper, “he asked numerous questions about ‘jail time,’” MacAyeal wrote. “He was worried about going to prison and what they do to ‘pedophiles’ in prison. He asked, ‘If I move out of the country, does this follow me?’ Based on these statements, I believe Hopper may attempt to flee the country to avoid prosecution.”
That led Judge Gail Nichols of the 9th Judicial District to order that Hopper surrender his passport.
On Monday, Nichols set Hopper’s next court date for May 20.