Ex-Porterville fire marshal facing child pornography charges

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

It wasn't until another firefighter took over Loran Blasdell's office that a CD belonging to Blasdell was found. On it, investigators say they found several images of young children performing sexual acts.

In a court file obtained by Action News, several sexually explicit images of children as young six years old -- were found on a disk belonging to retired Porterville fire marshal and battalion chief Loran Blasdell.

Sgt. Rick Carrillo said, "Upon viewing the disk it was determined to have contained images that were believed to be child pornography as well as other data linked directly back to Mr. Blasdell."

According to court documents, another firefighter had recently been assigned Loran Blasdell's office after Blasdell retired. On the desk he found three CDs. The firefighter told investigators there were more than 100 files of sexually explicit photos involving children on the disks and they were ultimately turned over the Porterville Police Department.

Sgt. Rick Carrillo said, "And due to any potential conflicts of interests or any questions that may be posed, our office immediately contacted an outside state agency to assume the investigation."

After a month-long investigation, the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force submitted their case to the Tulare County district attorney's office. While numerous pictures were discovered, investigators wrote specifically about four photos they were sure involved children.

Tulare County Assistant District Attorney said, "We did make the decision to file two felony counts of possession of child pornography. Both charges carry a maximum of three years in prison."

The felony complaint details the crimes were committed in November 2011 and May 2012. Blasdell pleaded "not guilty" to the charges on May 18th and bailed out of custody shortly afterwards.

Loran Blasdell will be back in court next month. If he's convicted of the charges he'll also have to register as a sex offender.

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