Las Vegas Sun

July 30, 2014

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Man kept child porn at county job, police say

A former Clark County employee was arrested Monday on charges of downloading more than 400 images of child pornography on his computer at the county Public Works Department.

The downloads apparently unleashed a virus that crippled the county's Internet system in August.

Carl Stanley Lobsien, 50, is facing 25 counts of possession of child pornography. He was being held this morning in the Clark County Detention Center on $75,000 bail.

A county employee since 1978, Lobsien was fired from his job as an engineering technician Sept. 9 after officials found the images on his computer, Erik Pappa, county spokesman, said.

"We were a little dismayed not only by his actions but by the amount of images he was able to download," Pappa said.

The images consisted of nude girls under the age of 16, and some showed them in sex acts with adult men, according to the police report obtained by the Sun.

The downloaded pornography led to at least one of the "denial-of-service" attacks on the county's computer system last summer, when the network crashed on several occasions because of viruses, the police report says.

Clark County's website, www.accessclarkcounty.com may be the most visited in the state of Nevada, according to county officials. The website attracted nearly 9 million visitors last July.

Last summer, at the time that police say Lobsien's downloading brought with it a virus that crashed the county system, the county's computer specialists were dealing with several different viruses and scrambling to apply "patches," or cyber-vaccinations, to the system.

Part of the problem, according to county employees then, was that the Clark County system was tied in a network with other computer systems for other local government agencies, including Metro's.

In those incidents, staffs at the various agencies disconnected links between the networks to isolate the problems. While Lobsien's imported virus could have disrupted the county's system Aug. 27, an attack apparently caused by another virus occurred Sept. 10, a day after the county had fired him.

That computer problem shut down outside access for residents and others seeking county information for most of the day. Similar problems a few weeks earlier is what prompted county staff to look for, and ultimately isolate, the problem to Lobsien's computer.

"The network was really slow so our technicians took a look at what was happening," Pappa said. "We're pretty happy that the computer technicians were able to locate the problem."

After county officials found the porn, they notified Detective Michael Castaneda of Metro's sexual assault unit and he began his investigation.

Castaneda seized Lobsien's work computer and obtained a warrant that permitted an officer with the Nevada Department of Public Safety's Nevada Cyber Crimes Task Force to conduct a forensic examination of it.

Police on Oct. 9 searched Lobsien's home near Rainbow Boulevard and Cheyenne Avenue for any possible child pornography, the police report says. However, no computer was found.

"Lobsien stated he was told by a member of his labor union to remove anything that might be connected to this investigation from his residence," the report says.

Representatives with the local chapter of the Service Employees International union did not return several phone calls on Tuesday and today seeking comment on Lobsien.

A warrant was issued Dec. 3 for Lobsien's arrest. He was taken into custody at his home about 9:40 p.m. Monday.

Although more than 400 pornographic images were found, Sgt. Russ Shoemaker of Metro's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force said he felt charging him with 25 counts was sufficient.

Lobsien had no disciplinary actions taken against him in his 26 years as a county employee, Pappa said. He had no criminal record in Nevada prior to this arrest, the police report says.

Pappa said apparently no one in the Public Works Department was aware that Lobsien was downloading pornography in his county cubicle, which like many in the Clark County Government Center is in a relatively open area. Lobsien did land surveying but carried out his duties from his work station rather than in the field. He didn't have any contact with the public.

"He was pretty adept at hiding what he was doing," Pappa said. "He was able to get away with it for quite a while without any of his co-workers knowing about it."

Since the incident, the county has installed filtering software that prevents easy access to potentially pornographic websites, he said.

Those who are drawn to child pornography will risk their jobs, personal safety or even their freedom to view it, Shoemaker said.

"Basically this is a needs-driven activity," he said. "Its very similar to a substance addiction. They can't not do it and when the opportunity presents itself they will succumb to it."

Sun reporter

Launce Rake contributed to this story.

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