A York County man was charged with two felony counts of possession of child pornography.
On Oct. 25, John William Alden, 20, turned himself into the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office deputies at the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail, according to York Poquoson Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Shelley Ward.
According to court documents filed in the York-Poquoson General District Court, Alden possessed child pornography on or about Oct. 24, 2016, three months after his 18th birthday.
The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force in Bedford County tipped off the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office on Oct. 24, 2016 that an account with the remote computing service provider Dropbox was linked to the sexual exploitation of children, according to court documents.
The tip told deputies 48 images and videos were uploaded to the Dropbox account, including an upload log of 1,479 files, the court documents said. The videos found in the Dropbox account included bestiality and teenagers between the ages of 16 and 18.
A Sheriff’s Office deputy reviewed three of the files, according to the court documents. All three files showed disturbing sexual acts with minors.
Internet Protocol addresses linked to the Dropbox account turned up three potential locations: two at an unnamed college in a different jurisdiction and another at an address in Bruton.
Deputies obtained a search warrant for the address in Bruton and after interviews with the property owners, deputies determined Alden to be a suspect in the case, court documents stated.
The investigating officer traveled to the college where Alden studied to interview him with local officers sometime after Jan. 26, according to court documents. Alden said he used fake email addresses and created a Dropbox account to upload pornography he sought out on the Internet.
Alden downloaded the Dropbox application on his smartphone and said he viewed for self-gratification purposes, court documents said.
Alden told investigators that the pornography was so easy to obtain that it couldn’t have been illegal, according to court documents. Alden also told investigators he couldn’t tell the ages of the people involved in the pornography, but felt they were 13-years or older.
Search warrants obtained for the Dropbox account led investigators to what they called an overwhelming amount of child pornography, court documents said.
Alden attempted to conceal his identity by using fake email addresses and creating two Dropbox accounts, according to court documents.
The fake email and Dropbox accounts are typical behavior for people who seek and collect child pornography, court documents said.
Alden was released from the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail on a $2,500 unsecured bond, according to the York-Poquoson General District Court Clerk’s Office.
His next court date is Jan. 9, 2019 at 9 a.m. in York-Poquoson General District Court.
If convicted, Alden faces at least two years in prison or as much as 15 years and up to $5,000 in fines, according to the Virginia Code.
Roberts can be reached at 757-604-1329, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @SPRobertsJr.