Valencia man pleads no contest to possessing child porn

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A Valencia man arrested this past summer on suspicion of distributing child pornography and of possessing sadomasochistic child porn images faces five years’ probation after he pleaded no contest Monday to one felony count of possessing child pornography.

Austen Timothy Calams, 35, was arrested June 15 by deputies of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station after a warrant was issued by a task force set up to investigate child pornography.

Calams appeared Monday at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles where he entered his plea.

“The defendant entered a no contest plea yesterday to one felony count of possession of child pornography,” Ricardo Santiago, spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office told The Signal Tuesday morning.

“He was immediately remanded into the custody of the Sheriff’s Department to serve 180 actual days in jail,” he said.

Calams is scheduled to return to court on March 19, 2018, for sentencing.

“He is expected to then be sentenced to five years of formal probation plus time served,” Santiago said.

Additionally, he will be ordered to complete 52 weeks of sex offender counseling and will be required to register as a sex offender for life, he said.

The case against Calams began with a “cyber tip,” Lt. Kent Wegener, of the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, told The Signal in June.

“This came to us as a cyber tip to the Human Trafficking Bureau which also houses the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force,” he said.

“According to the tip, an individual uploaded what looked like a child porn image to Skype.”

The case was turned over to the Task Force’s “high tech forensics” detectives, he said, who traced the upload to a house in Valencia.

A warrant to search the suspect’s home – a block away from Rio Norte Junior High School – was carried out after “the suspect implicated himself in possessing and distributing child porn,” Wegener said.

Detectives seized handheld “devices” from the suspect’s home on which they found at least 500 still photographs and videos of child porn.

A criminal complaint case was filed with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office on June 13, specifically named two porn charges against Calams for possession and distribution.

Once the charges were filed, detectives received a note from the suspect’s lawyer that he would turn himself in to the local sheriff’s station on June 15.

The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force has pursued 335 cases of child porn so far this year, Wegener said.

The task force works closely with the LASD’s Human Trafficking Bureau.

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on Twitter @jamesarthurholt

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