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Affidavit: Former Wright-Patterson Air Force Base employee admitted to visiting child porn sites

Posted: 10:32 AM, Feb 06, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-07 06:08:15Z

DAYTON, Ohio -- Fantasizing about raping underage girls and visiting child porn websites were just two of the admissions made by a man during his interview for a job with the federal government in March 2018, according to an affidavit.

One month after his startling confessions, the 23-year-old started working at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base as a full-time civilian employee.

The details of the case are revealed in the sworn affidavit of an Air Force Special Agent.

In the affidavit, filed in federal court on Dec. 28, Special Agent Teddi Rachell identified the man as the target of a federal criminal investigation and indicated there is "probable cause" the investigation would produce evidence the man had committed federal crimes. WCPO is not naming the suspect because he hasn't been charged.

It's unclear when the man's comments were disclosed to the people who hired him. In the affidavit, the agent disclosed that the Air Force Office of Special Investigations wasn't notified about the man's alleged admissions until September 2018, five months after Wright-Patterson hired him as a civilian employee.

Mark Zaid, a Washington D.C. attorney who has focused on national security issues for two decades, reviewed a copy of the affidavit at the request of the 9 On Your Side I-Team.

"People need to be fired for this particular case," Zaid said.

Zaid said he believes the man's comments were made during a review of his background for a possible security clearance. Special Agent Rachell's affidavit doesn't indicate if the federal government granted the suspect a security clearance. Wright-Patterson declined to say if the suspect received a security clearance.

"As soon as the background investigator was told this information in March that should have - you would have thought - set off a chain reaction to make sure this information got to the right people," Zaid said. "And, that's just pathetically sad and very uncomfortable."

The affidavit was supposed to be sealed, but it was mistakenly posted on PACER, the public website used by federal courts. The I-Team discovered the affidavit during a routine check of records filed in federal cases. The Air Force Office of Special Investigations declined to comment on the case.

"Reading through this affidavit, there's a million and one red flags," Zaid said. "Why did it take months for anyone in the government to do anything about him, much less that he got hired by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base."

It's unclear who notified Air Force investigators in September, or why Wright-Patterson apparently didn't contact other federal agencies that interviewed the man before it hired him. Wright-Patterson has declined to answer nearly all of our questions citing the active criminal investigation and the man's right to privacy.

Randy Freking is a prominent Cincinnati attorney who has handled hundreds of cases focusing on employment law. Freking said the situation is "negligent hiring" by Wright-Patterson.

Rachell's affidavit was part of an application for federal search warrants. The affidavit reveals the suspect's name, home address, previous employers, job at Wright-Patterson and email addresses used for his social media accounts. WCPO redacted that information because it identifies the suspect, who has not been charged. In the affidavit, Rachell identifies the type of information requested from companies hosting the man's accounts, including Google. Rachell wrote that the suspect used various social media accounts to interact with underage girls, though the man insisted he had only exchanged messages with the girls online and had not shared any inappropriate images - photos or video - or discussed having sex with them.

To see what investigators may be looking for and what they might find, the I-Team visited Nexigen, a Newport cybersecurity company. Ty Braunwart, Nexigen's lead forensics investigator, took the I-Team into a secure, windowless room that is accessible to only three employees with electronic card keys.

Braunwart sat in front of large monitors as he worked his way through data stored on a computer's hard drive.

"Alright, let's go take a look at the cellphone," Braunwart said as he began clicking on a series of folders that appeared on one of the screens.

"You can get log-in information. You can pull down the chat history," Braunwart said as he opened new collections of data that he said could lead to more discoveries and possibly more search warrants.

"It's actually a road map," Braunwart said. "This information can point us to new targets, new leads and new sites."

The I-Team takes a deeper look at computer forensics and how evidence is protected.

Braunwart, like Freking and Zaid, reviewed the affidavit prior to our interviews. Before the I-Team provided them with the documents, we redacted all of the information we believed would identify the suspect in the case.

The I-Team requested a comment from the suspect. He referred us to his attorney, Tony Comunale.

"This is an ongoing investigation, and we don't expect him to be charged," Comunale said.

WCPO also provided Comunale with a copy of the affidavit before we spoke with him about the case against his client.

"I haven't seen one piece of evidence suggesting he's committed a crime," Comunale said.

A Wright-Patterson spokeswoman said the suspect's last day at work was Jan. 23, less than a week after the I-Team provided AFOSI with an un-redacted copy of the affidavit and a detailed list of questions that -- for the most part -- remain unanswered.

Even Zaid, a veteran national security attorney, seemed baffled and frustrated by this case.

"This is a really good textbook case of how the system has holes in it and needs to be improved," Zaid said.

Read the redacted affidavit below:

Agent Redacted Affidavit by on Scribd