Child porn case investigated in Howard

June 10, 2002|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF

A former Howard County government employee has been charged with accessing child pornography on his county-issued computer, according to a statement of charges filed in Howard County District Court.

Daniel Frederick Lassahn, 39, who worked in the county's technology department, appeared in District Court last month and is scheduled for trial July 2, court files indicate.

Lassahn faces one count of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography, according to court files.

The Frederick resident was hired about a year and a half ago as a contingent employee for data development, said Raquel Sanudo, chief administrative officer. He worked at the Carroll Building on Courthouse Drive in Ellicott City.

Lassahn ceased working for the county May 8, Sanudo said - the day after court documents indicate police seized the computer he used at work.

Virginia Peterman, director of the technology department, called police early last month after she observed pornographic images in the history files of the computer assigned to Lassahn, according to the charging document.

Peterman told police she checked his computer because she noticed a decrease in Lassahn's work production, the charging document says.

Howard detectives seized the computer and found images of nude boys touching each other and images of young girls engaged in sex acts with men, according to the document.

In 1994, Lassahn pleaded guilty in a Frederick court to a fourth-degree sex offense, according to court files. He received probation, which ended in August 1996. The nature of the charge is unclear because the file has since been destroyed, a Frederick court employee said.

The child pornography charges carry penalties of 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine for one count and one year in prison and $2,500 for the second.

His lawyer, Frederick-based Richard M. Winters, did not return phone calls Friday.

Sanudo said the county has specific policies that address misuse of county property.

"They are not entitled to use the equipment for whatever they want," she said.

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