A maintenance help-desk employee at the Naval Academy has been charged with possessing child pornography and posing as a 12-year-old on the Internet to solicit photographs of nude children, state prosecutors said yesterday.
David N. Sprachner, 44, of Glen Burnie apologized at a bail hearing in Annapolis yesterday for what he said was a "stupid, sick mistake."
But his request to be set free until trial was rejected by District Judge Vincent A. Mulieri after prosecutors warned that Sprachner shares a small apartment with a couple and their four children. Authorities presented no evidence that Sprachner involved those children, ages 2 to 16, in any of his alleged misconduct.
Sprachner was arrested at his apartment on Glen Ridge Circle on Tuesday evening after a three-month investigation that began when a co-worker reported seeing sexually explicit photos of children on Sprachner's desktop computer at the academy.
A civilian employee, Sprachner had worked at the military college's public works office since March 1998, answering a hot line for reporting maintenance problems such as leaky faucets and broken radiators.
Agents with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Anne Arundel County state's attorney's office seized computers from his home and office and found digital images and printouts of boys and girls "in various positions of a suggestive sexual nature," according to court documents.
Authorities said in court papers that Sprachner admitted to posing as a 12-year-old in Internet chat rooms meant for preteen children. He told authorities that during the past 2 1/2 years, he had asked for and received more than 50 pornographic images of children.
David Cordle, chief investigator for the county state's attorney, said in an interview that evidence indicated that Sprachner also exchanged such images through the mail.
The Naval Academy suspended Sprachner without pay after his arrest Tuesday, but officials there had no comment.
Sprachner was charged with one count each of possession and distribution of child pornography.