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Vegas police ask FBI to review child porn images on mayor’s computer

  • North Las Vegas mayor John Lee claims he was sent an email which caused images – which he believes show child porn – to pop up on his iPad
  • Police officer found browser links to website displaying possible child porn
  • But because he could not verify ages of those involved case was dropped
  • Following a review city’s new police chief has asked FBI to look at the case 

By

Keiligh Baker for MailOnline


Published:
05:07 EST, 13 May 2015

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Updated:
05:19 EST, 13 May 2015

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Police investigating how a Las Vegas mayor obtained images of suspected child pornography on his computer have asked the FBI to review the case.

North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee, 59, claimed the images began popping up on his computer after someone sent him an email and he contacted police because he was ‘worried they showed children being harmed’.

Now the city’s new police chief, Alexander Perez, has opted to seek federal help after reviewing how detectives handled Lee’s request last October to clear images from his iPad, police spokesman Aaron Patty said.

North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee, 59, (pictured) told police the images began popping up on his computer after someone sent him an email and he was 'worried they showed children being harmed'

North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee, 59, (pictured) told police the images began popping up on his computer after someone sent him an email and he was ‘worried they showed children being harmed’

Meanwhile former Police Chief Joseph Chronister, who retired on Thursday, said that while one of his detectives investigated the claim in October, he wishes his department had done more and had sought help from an outside agency.

The developments came after the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported on Friday that a detective found browser links on Lee’s computer to at least one website displaying possible child pornography originating from a foreign country.

The newspaper said the October 20 investigation ended after one day because the detective couldn’t immediately verify the age or identify the location of the children.

Lee’s other computer devices weren’t examined.

In a statement sent to the Review-Journal on Tuesday, police department spokesman Patty confirmed that the FBI would review the case but did not mention child pornography.

North Las Vegas Police (pictured) have opted to seek federal help after reviewing how detectives handled Lee's request last October to clear images from his iPad

North Las Vegas Police (pictured) have opted to seek federal help after reviewing how detectives handled Lee’s request last October to clear images from his iPad

He said: ‘In October 2014, the North Las Vegas Police Department Detective Bureau conducted an investigation regarding an iPad that contained sexually explicit material possessed by Mayor John Lee.

‘The investigation revealed there were not sufficient grounds for prosecution and the case was ultimately closed.

‘In order to ensure the objectivity of the investigation, and based on a subsequent review by the North Las Vegas Police Department, this case has been turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for an independent review.’

The detective who looked at the computer said in his report that he found no emails involving any pornography but found three links to pornographic websites in the tablet’s browser history, one of which appeared to involve children.

The detective said while he located ‘several possible photos that could be considered child porno­graphy’ since they were in a different country he could not verify the age of the people pictured.

Because ‘nothing seemed illegal’ on the iPad, the detective took it to an Apple Store and had it wiped clean and returned it to Lee.

Last week Lee disputed claims that he approached a detective at City Hall. He claimed he doesn’t know why the report and the police chief said he did.

He said that he wasn’t sure why police couldn’t find the email and that he didn’t delete it because he wanted police to see it so they could find the sender.

When he was contacted for a for a comment Lee said he wasn’t investigated for possession of child pornography and that he was ‘a victim’.

He said he contacted police because he was worried children were being harmed and he felt he should give them his iPad ‘in case it could stop a bad guy’.

Lee said all he knew is that he got his iPad back.

‘As far as I know there were people who were doing evil to children,’ Lee said. ‘I don’t have anything to do with that sin.’

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