Saturday, October 24, 2009

AK: Social worker charged with possessing child pornography

LT. CMDR.: Founded nonprofit camp to treat sexually abused boys.

An Anchorage social worker who works with children on Elmendorf Air Force Base has been arrested on a charge of possessing child pornography after police say they found in his home thousands of graphic images of child abuse.

Lt. Cmdr. Andrew William Young of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps is charged in federal court with possessing images depicting children as young as 5 or 6 years old being molested and abused, Anchorage police said Friday. Police searching the home collected the largest amount of physical evidence of any single child porn case to date, police Lt. Dave Parker said.

Young, 46, is a licensed clinical therapist who specializes in treating children, police said. According to Young's resume, he has been a senior officer at child and adolescent services for the 3rd Medical Group on Elmendorf since 2008. His job includes managing clinical services for children of active-duty personnel from Elmendorf, Fort Richardson and Kodiak Coast Guard station, his resume says. He supervises staff treating children at the mental health clinic and consults with the chief of pediatrics along with school officials, according to his resume.

Young has also worked as a school counselor, a special-needs educator and was a founder of a nonprofit summer camp to treat sexually abused boys, his resume says.

Anchorage police cyber-crimes Detective Tammy Dunn said Friday she has uncovered no evidence Young has molested children, but the evidence uncovered during a search of his home, which was still being processed, was cause for concern.

Dunn began investigating Young last month after getting a tip he possessed child porn. The Alaska Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force served a search warrant at his West Anchorage home Thursday and seized computers and hard drives containing thousands of images and videos, police said. Young was arrested that night.

"Sometimes we do the search warrant and we don't make the arrest this fast," Dunn said. "But because of his dealing with children, the availability of children to him and his interaction with them on a daily basis, that's the reason that we acted very quickly."

Young was booked without bail at the Anchorage jail.

Police said the investigation is continuing and more charges may be filed. Detectives are also examining whether there were any abuse victims in Alaska or his previous locations that could be connected to the case. Young has also lived in Texas, Florida, Virginia, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Germany and Iraq.

A national spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Lt. Kate Migliaccio, declined to comment on the case.

An Elmendorf spokesman, Stephen Lee, also declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.

"It's currently under investigation. That's all we really know about it," Lee said. The base set up a contact number -- 580-2644 -- for anyone concerned about the care they received, he said.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Dunn at 786-2609.

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