Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Sentencing delayed for former Bellevue employee

Express Staff Writer

The U.S. District Court has delayed to February 2006 sentencing of Bellevue's former public works superintendent, Brian Whipple, for one count of possession of sexually explicit material depicting minors.

U.S. District Court Judge Edward J. Lodge signed a motion Nov. 30 to continue the sentencing of Whipple, a Carey resident, to Feb. 14, 2006.

Whipple pleaded guilty in September to the charge. Possession of sexually explicit material depicting minors carries penalties of up to 10 years jail time, a $250,000 fine and three years supervised release time. Whipple is also required to register as a sexual offender.

In response to the reports from Bellevue city employees in September 2004, the city conducted an investigation into the alleged abuse and misuse of city-owned property. Court documents reveal that police found archived and deleted files that indicated Whipple accessed child pornography sites on a regular basis from his work computer.

After the initial investigation, Whipple admitted to using the Bellevue shop computer to view child pornography sites on the Internet.

Police arrested Whipple in September 2004. At the time of his arrest, Whipple gave his resignation as Bellevue's public works superintendent.

During the investigation, the FBI found 94 child pornography images on the city-owned computer. Because Whipple used his computer to view the images over the Internet, the images were involved in interstate commerce.

The FBI also connected to Whipple six compact discs found in a trash receptacle behind Bellevue's public works shop. The CDs contain 2,990 images and movie files related to child erotica and child pornography.

According to court documents, when police interviewed Whipple in regards to the misuse of the computers at the time of his arrest, he admitted to touching a 13-year-old girl inappropriately.

Blaine County prosecutors charged Whipple with one count of sexual abuse of a child under the age of 16. The U.S. District Attorney office said Blaine County dismissed the charge after the Whipple pled guilty to the pornography possession charges.

The Blaine County prosecutor did not return phone calls to the Idaho Mountain Express.

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