BY MAIRE O’NEILL
NOTE: The content of this story may be disturbing to some readers
A status hearing has been set in Los Alamos Magistrate Court for Steven J. Sandoval, 54 of Los Alamos on a charge of possession of visual media of sexual exploitation – child under 13.
According to Court documents, a warrant for Sandoval’s arrest was obtained Feb. 14 by Los Alamos Police Department Det. Sgt. James Rodriguez based on the discovery of some 68 combined images and videos on a computer belonging to Sandoval which allegedly depicted sexual acts including adults with toddlers and underaged females.
The affidavit for an arrest warrant indicates that in April 2018, “inappropriate materials and possible child pornography” were located on Sandoval’s work computer at Los Alamos National Laboratory. In September 2018, an agent from the Department of Energy Office of the Inspector General met with Sandoval at which time the affidavit alleges Sandoval admitted that he searched for a specific child model on the internet and that the child was not nude in the photos.
The affidavit states that Sandoval told the agent he never looked at images of underaged girls but would be directed from child modeling sites to those containing pornographic material that might be suggestive of child pornography. He allegedly admitted seeing a photo of a clothed female with her hand on male genitalia but said it did not show a visual of her face but he believed the image was intended to suggest that she was underage. The affidavit says Sandoval insisted that child pornography is wrong and that the image was “not child pornography per se but sure is alluding to it”.
Sandoval admitted to the agent, the affidavit says, that he had a document on his personal computer with images of child models but no nudity or children engaged in sexual acts and that he had kept it because he liked to look at it.
A digital forensic analysis report conducted on Sandoval’s personal computer allegedly recovered the 68 combined images of “suspected child pornography depicting sexual acts or graphic nudity involving individuals believed to be minors”. Also allegedly found were 5,000 child modeling images some of which may be considered child sexual exploitation materials as they presented underage females in sexually provocative poses”.