FBI warrant details search for child pornography at Sunspot Observatory | KOB 4

FBI warrant details search for child pornography at Sunspot Observatory

Ryan Laughlin
September 20, 2018 06:10 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Another piece to the puzzle surrounding the mysterious closure of the Sunspot Observatory was revealed in an FBI search warrant. The janitor was named as someone law enforcement suspected for distributing child pornography.


Many details in the search warrant match up with what an anonymous whistleblower previously told KOB.

"It's a very open, unregulated area with lots of resources and we've had many small and large crime events at the site, prior to this FBI investigation,” said an employee at the Sunspot facility. "We even had someone noticing that the janitorial supplies were being plundered in the building."

The FBI search warrant details how agents tracked an IP address to the Sunspot Observatory, which led them to the janitor.

Documents show a personal laptop was found in a rarely used room inside the observatory building. It was connected to the building’s internet and appeared to have child porn on it.

According to documents, after the laptop was seized, the janitor said, “he was concerned that security was so lax,” and, “he thought someone had been entering the Observatory at night, in order to steal wireless internet service.”

On Sunday, the whistleblower said, "Also, late at night, there's been intrusion on the site. On a regular basis, we'll have people that are unauthorized to be on the site at night time.”

The court documents also detail how the janitor said, “someone had stolen five rolls of toilet paper from the facility.”

The court documents note how the security concerns raised by the janitor were not discussed “in his previous year of cleaning the Observatory.”

New Mexico State University officials said the janitor was a contract hire by AURA, the group that manages the facility.

“That site is perfect for doing such things because there's open resources that are unguarded, unmonitored and the site is large and the staff to manage it is small,” the Sunspot employee told KOB. “Therefore, a lot of things fall through the cracks so to speak, when it comes to security."

KOB is not naming the janitor because he has not been charged with a crime.

The FBI did not offer additional comment, citing the ongoing investigation.


Ryan Laughlin

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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