Zimmerman Man Charged with One Count of Possession and Distribution of Child Pornography
|FBI Minneapolis December 23, 2010|
Ralph S. Boelter, Special Agent in Charge of the Minneapolis FBI office, today announced the federal arrest of Scott James Whitcomb, 48, of Zimmerman, Minnesota. Whitcomb was arrested by FBI Agents on December 22, 2010, based upon a federal criminal complaint that was issued the previous day. Whitcomb was charged in the complaint with one count of possession and distribution of child pornography.
On August 4, 2010, a Minneapolis Police Officer was conducting an online undercover operation by searching for images and videos of child pornography by other peer-to-peer (P2P) file network users. The officer obtained information that one or more files of child pornography were available for downloading at a particular IP address. After browsing the particular IP address, the officer was able to download an explicit video containing child pornography, and view two other videos containing child pornography as well. The officer continued the investigation and was able to determine that the IP address was subscribed to by Whitcomb.
The Minneapolis Police Officer shared his findings with investigators from the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO). On December 16, 2010, officers from the SCSO conducted a state search warrant at Whitcomb’s home in Zimmerman. Among the items seized in the home pursuant to the warrant were a desktop computer and a laptop computer. A SCSO investigator subsequently performed a forensics review of the seized computers. This review revealed that explicit images of a young boy, taken from inside Whitcomb’s residence, were contained on the seized laptop computer. An investigator then conducted a voluntary and taped interviewed with Whitcomb in Minneapolis. During the interview, Whitcomb stated that he is the sole occupant of his home in Zimmerman. Whitcomb was informed that SCSO had conducted a search warrant at his home, and Whitcomb then terminated the interview.
Investigators were able to positively identify the boy depicted in the images taken inside Whitcomb’s home. The boy is 15 years old. On Monday, December 20, 2010, SCSO investigators arrested Whitcomb on a state arrest warrant based on a complaint filed by an officer of the SCSO. The state warrant named four state charges against Whitcomb: 1) Criminal Sex Conduct, 1st Degree, Penetration with Person Under 13, Actor More Than 36 Months Older; 2) Criminal Sex Contact, 1st Degree, Contact with Person Under 13, Actor More Than 36 Months Older; 3) Criminal Sex Conduct, 3rd Degree; and 4) Criminal Sex Conduct 4th Degree.
After Whitcomb had been arrested on the state charges, investigators learned that the 15 year old boy has a younger brother, 12 years old. Both boys were interviewed and stated that they had engaged in numerous sexual acts with Whitcomb over the past two to three years, and that they and others had been forced to watch adult pornography with Whitcomb.
Whitcomb appeared in Sherburne County Court on December 21, 2010 for his initial appearance on the four state charges against him. His bail was subsequently set at $50,000. Prior to posting bail, FBI Agents contacted Sherburne County authorities and asked that Whitcomb be detained further pending federal criminal charges against him. On December 22, 2010, the federal complaint was filed against Whitcomb, and a federal arrest warrant was issued for his arrest. He was arrested later that day, and he made his initial appearance on the federal charge against him in United States District Court on December 23, 2010. Whitcomb was ordered held without bond during that court hearing.
This investigation is a joint effort by the Minneapolis Police Department, the Sherburne County Sherrif’s Office, and the Minnesota Cyber Crimes Task Force, which is sponsored by the FBI and the United States Secret Service. The United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota is prosecuting this case.
The charges in a federal criminal complaint are merely an accusation and defendants are presumed innocent until they are proven guilty.