Las Vegas Sun

September 21, 2014

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County employee indicted on child pornography charges

A Clark County public information officer has been indicted on child pornography and exploitation charges after police reported finding hundreds of pictures and videos on his computers, according to a criminal complaint released Wednesday.

A federal grand jury on Nov. 30 indicted Erik Muller, 40, on counts of advertising child pornography, transporting child pornography, receipt of child pornography, possession of child pornography and two counts of sexual exploitation of a child.

The investigation began in early October when Henderson Police discovered an Internet Protocol address — a unique number assigned by Internet service providers to each customer — that contained files with names indicative of child pornography, according to the complaint.

The IP address led them to Muller’s Henderson residence near Horizon Ridge Parkway and Gibson Road.

Henderson detectives executed a search warrant Nov. 15 at the residence. Detectives ultimately found about 400 images or videos depicting child pornography on his personal desktop computer and several child pornographic videos on a laptop, according to the complaint.

Muller reportedly confessed to searching for and possessing the child pornography during the past three to four years, according to the complaint.

Police confiscated Muller’s laptop from the Clark County Government Center, where he worked.

Law enforcement officials had noticed Muller’s laptop on the Clark County Internet Network and that his “laptop was involved with illegal downloads of child pornography from both home and work,” the complaint alleges.

The laptop also allegedly contained about 100 webcam videos, 48 of which show Muller in active communication with females from 11 to 17 years old, the complaint said.

Muller allegedly used a website aimed at young teens who can join chat rooms and decide whether to broadcast themselves via webcam to record juveniles performing sexual acts at his encouragement, according to the complaint.

In most videos, Muller shows only his genitals and typically tells the girls that he is 17 years old, the complaint alleges.

Erik Pappa, Clark County’s director of public communications, said Muller had been employed by the county for nearly 10 years. He is a spokesman in the county’s Nuclear Waste Division.

“These are very troubling allegations, and we extend our sympathies to the victims and their families,” a statement issued on behalf of the county said. “After being made aware of the federal investigation initiated by law enforcement and prior to them moving forward with an indictment of Mr. Muller, the County had initiated proceedings to terminate Mr. Muller’s employment.”

Muller remains in federal custody pending his trial, which is scheduled to begin Feb. 7, officials said. The federal public defender’s office is acting as his counsel.