A federal judge denied a request for house arrest or similar release for a former Newport News and James City County Republican committee chairman, citing the nature of his charges and “overwhelming evidence” that his release posed a danger to the community.
Charles K. Young, of James City County, faces 10 felony counts of receiving child pornography. The 69-year-old had a detention hearing Monday at U.S. District Court in Newport News.
After hearing testimony from the prosecution and defense, Magistrate Judge Lawrence Leonard ruled Young would remain in Western Tidewater Regional Jail until his Feb. 28 hearing.
Leonard said testimony from assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa McKeel that Young held on to a cell phone and hid it from his wife after James City County Police confiscated his other electronics, storage devices and another cell phone in August, was troubling.
“The charges against you are very serious and the weight of the evidence is quite strong,” Leonard said. “The court is reluctant to believe you’ll adhere to release conditions.”
Young plead not guilty to the charges. He is a former chairman of Republican committee in Newport News and stepped down from his position with the James City committee in September. His wife, Sandra Young, is on Williamsburg-James City County School Board.
Between Feb. and July 2014, Young is accused of receiving three videos and seven photos depicting boys under 18 engaged in simulated and actual sexually explicit behavior, according to the federal indictment.
McKeel said authorities began investigating Young after his son called James City County Police and said his father had child pornography on his computer. The son, who was not named in court, said Young had viewed illegal images like these since he was 15, the federal prosecutor said.
Now in his 30s, the son told investigators the family staged an intervention with Young around Christmas 2015 after they found child pornography on his computer while compiling a slide show for a funeral. Despite the intervention, Young’s behavior did not change, McKeel said.
“This was an act of desperation by the family. They tried everything before reporting him to law enforcement,” McKeel said. Young’s son called police in August after he discovered his father became friends with young Asian boys on Facebook and was chatting with them, she added.
A forensic investigation on a laptop, two SD cards, two Amazon tablets and a cellphone taken from Young’s home were found to have more than 22,000 images of child pornography on them, McKeel said.
Young’s attorney, Tim Clancy, argued he would not have access to the internet and that his wife had agreed to forgo her internet access and have items needed for her position with the school board printed out to keep the house free of connections.
Clancy said Young is not working. He was willing to be on house arrest, only leaving home to visit his attorney, go to counseling at his church or do any court-ordered testing or therapy, the defense attorney said.
Leonard rejected that argument, saying Young could get another device or find a way to get online. The risk was too great to let him out while he awaits his trial, the magistrate judge said.
Follow Canty on Twitter @DPMCanty.