Former Tahoe ski school employee pleads guilty to federal child sex exploitation charges
Stephan DeGraffenreid, 26, of Gardnerville, pleaded guilty this week to charges of child sexual exploitation.
U.S. District Judge Howard McKibben accepted his plea to one count of sexual exploitation of a minor and two counts of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor.
McKibben set sentencing in the case for Nov. 29. DeGraffenreid faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison on each count.
According to the criminal complaint in the case, child pornography was found on a computer tablet at the Heavenly Ski Resort Children’s Ski School. The device belonged to DeGraffenreid, a former employee at the resort, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Steven Myhre.
In a previous email to the Tribune, a resort representative condemned DeGraffenreid’s alleged actions.
“We have no reason to believe that the alleged activity has any connection to Heavenly Ski Resort or its guests. The alleged activity is abhorrent to everything that our resort stands for and we remain available to cooperate with the authorities in their investigation, if requested,” Kevin “Coop” Cooper, senior communications manager for Heavenly, said in an email.
That device justified a search warrant for DeGraddenreid’s residence, which located a thumb drive containing explicit images of children in a Gardnerville childcare facility restroom.
Back in April, DeGraffenreid pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual exploitation of a minor and two counts of attempted exploitation in addition to one count of possessing child porn.
Myhre said DeGraffenreid admitted to taking the photos.