Crime

Eight arrested on child porn charges

David William Unger had been on federal authorities' radar for several years, and during that time, the Fresno resident secretly feared he would someday get caught for downloading child pornography.

This week, his fears came true.

Unger, 31, was one of eight people arrested this week on child pornography charges. The others were from Fresno, Clovis, Sanger, Merced, Bakersfield and Stanislaus County.

The spate of arrests, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Gappa said, "reflects the priority that the U.S. Attorney's Office and state, local and federal agencies have placed on finding and prosecuting such cases."

According to an affidavit filed by Mike Prado, a senior special agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Unger's name had "appeared numerous times" over the past few years on lists prepared by ICE's Cyber Crimes Center in Fairfax, Va.

Prado, along with Fresno County sheriff's detective Kevin Wiens and two Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, went to Unger's apartment Wednesday. As soon as he was confronted about downloading child pornography, he "nodded softly" and admitted he had been saving such images for years, Prado's affidavit states.

Unger, a student at Fresno Pacific University, according to the affidavit, told Prado he "has constantly been fearful of being caught." He was studying to be a schoolteacher and was one semester away from graduation.

Others arrested this week were:

Clovis resident John Eugene Davis, 40, who has been investigated by ICE agents and Clovis police since April, when child pornography images were found in a Dumpster at his apartment complex and the trash was traced back to him.

Fresno resident Steven Kane Pinkerton, 56, who was also tracked based on a lead from ICE's Cyber Crimes Center after he purchased access to Web sites known to contain child pornography. Pinkerton was interviewed Friday by law enforcement agents who found a "voluminous" amount of child pornography on his computer, according to an affidavit.

Sanger resident Jorge Alberto Tovar, 22, who, like Pinkerton and Unger, was traced via ICE's Cyber Crimes Center after purchasing access to Web sites. Federal agents went to his residence Wednesday, where they found printed pictures and compact discs with videos and still pictures of child pornography.

Merced resident Shannon Powell, 53, was arrested after agents on Wednesday found pictures and 200 video files containing young children being sexually abused by adult males.

Fresno resident Adam Cassle, 27, was arrested Friday by ICE agent John Simmons and is being held in the Fresno County Jail, authorities and jail records confirm, but no additional information was available on his arrest.

Authorities identified the other two as Michel Groves, 62, of Bakersfield and Orlando Calderon, 43, of Stanislaus County.

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