Part-time Casper Employee Charged With Child Pornography Crimes
A Casper city employee has been charged with transportation of and possession of child pornography, according to federal court records.
Liam Van Damme, born in 2000, heard the charges during his initial appearance by way of videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kelly Rankin on Tuesday.
Van Damme remains in custody and will have a detention hearing on Friday.
If convicted, transportation of child pornography is punishable by between five years and 20 years imprisonment, up to a $250,000 fine, five years to life supervised release, a $5,000 special assessment according to the Victims of Sex Trafficking Act of 2015, and up to $35,000 mandator restitution of not less than $3,000 per requesting victim according to the Amy, Vicky and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2018.
If convicted, possession of child pornography is punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment, and the same fine, supervised release time and $5,000 special assessment as the transportation count. The punishment also included up to $17,000 mandatory restitution according to the victim assistance act.
Tuesday, Casper Human Resources department director Tracy Belser said Van Damme is a part-time employee at the Casper Ice Arena, 1801 E. Fourth St.
A special agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations wrote the criminal complaint.
On June 29, the agent was told by a Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation agent about Van Damme uploading child pornography to a SmugMug-Flickr account. That constituted transporting child pornography.
On July 7, the DCI's Internet Crimes Against Children task force received two cybertips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The tips reported Google becoming aware of a suspected file of child pornography, Van Damme's name, an upload of 84 child pornography files, internet provider addresses and dates.
The investigation continued through the summer.
On Aug. 13, the DCI agent obtained search warrants to look at Van Damme's email accounts and a Flickr account. Those searches revealed phone numbers, images of child pornography, emails related to his employment, his residential address, and images with adult sexual content.
On Nov. 6, the ICE and DCI agents contacted him at his workplace and executed search warrants for Van Damme's person and residence.
After being advised of his Miranda rights, Van Damme admitted he was the owner of the accounts and "admitted it was a problem he had been struggling with," according to the criminal complaint.
He also told the agents that there were potentially files of child pornography on a laptop computer at his residence and on his cell phone.
The government regards child pornography as a crime of violence because it involves sometimes brutal assaults on very young children who cannot give consent to sexual activity.
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