Fire captain faces federal child porn charge | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Fire captain faces federal child porn charge

Isaac Brambila
ibrambila@tahoedailytribune.com

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — South Lake Tahoe Fire Department Capt. Mark Wygant was federally charged with receiving child pornography Friday morning.

Only one charge was presented against Wygant in federal court, but an affidavit, filed by FBI special agent Glenn G. Norling, alleged there is probable cause to believe Wygant violated at least two more pornography sections of the federal law. Those allegations included possession of child pornography material and producing child pornography material. The material Wygant is accused of obtaining and producing included more than 5,000 images and 500 video files.

The material reportedly depicted several girls, the youngest, Norling stated, was between 4-and-9 years old.

Wygant allegedly received and produced the child-pornographic material between March 2011 and December, the affidavit states.

Norling was informed about the situation on Jan. 12 by a local law enforcement officer that a flash drive found in an un-assigned locker in a South Lake Tahoe Fire Department station was found to contain a large amount of image and video files of child pornography.

An initial investigation was undertaken by the South Lake Tahoe Police Department and a state search warrant for the contents of the flash drive was obtained by the SLTPD on Jan. 9.

Several of the videos, the affidavit states, appeared to be of a “known female minor.” Two SLTPD detectives met with the girl and believe she was depicted in the videos. The girl was 12 years old in 2011, when the videos are believed to have been made.

The videos, in which Wygant is allegedly seen placing and concealing the camera, depict the girl getting out of the shower.

According to he document, during an interview on Thursday, Wygant admitted to “surreptitiously placing a camera (an iPhone 3) in a bathroom in (the victim’s) residence numerous times to record (the victim) nude for the purposes of the subject’s sexual gratification.”

He also allegedly admitted to later purchasing “spy cameras” on eBay to record additional videos. He placed four cameras in the bathroom.

The affidavit states that Wygant admitted he had nearly 100 videos of the victim.

Norling also cites three images depicting three girls performing different types of sexually explicit conduct. The girls are believed to be between 9-and-13 years old, 4-and-9 years old and between 6-and-10 years old.

Wygant was placed on paid administrative leave following his arrest pending results of a federal criminal investigation, according to a City of South Lake Tahoe press release.

The City of South Lake Tahoe initially issued the press release at 3:30 p.m. Friday stating Wygant had been arrested. The press release did not include the charges against Wygant.

The press release stated that when the city first received an internal tip of a potential crime regarding a city employee, staff worked aggressively and collaboratively with federal and local law enforcement agencies to fully investigate the allegations.

“I want to commend the fire chief, police chief, investigative team and the South Lake Tahoe office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their cooperation and professionalism in this matter,” City Manager Nancy Kerry stated in the press release. “The type of conduct as alleged in the FBI’s affidavit is unacceptable for any public employee; it will not be tolerated and will be aggressively investigated. This alleged conduct is in complete contrast to standards and expectations we have for City employees and is not representative of the caliber and professionalism of the South Lake Tahoe public safety employees who continue to serve the public with honor every day.”


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