A ski school employee at south Lake Tahoe’s Heavenly Mountain Resort plead not guilty to federal counts of child pornography on Thursday afternoon after authorities discovered numerous photos of nude adolescent girls on a iPod Touch belonging to the man in question. The iPod was found on the ski slopes at South Lake Tahoe by an Heavenly employee. The employee gave it to security officers, who turned it over to the El Dorado County Sheriff’s office.
According to a press release from the Department of Justice, 26 year-old Stephan L. DeGraffenreid is charged with one count of sexual exploitation of a child, two counts of attempted sexual exploitation of a child, and one count of possession of child pornography.
If convicted, the mandatory minimum sentence for each charge is 15 years spent behind bars.
Upon executing a recently issued warrant, authorities discovered a “thumb drive” that contained more explicit material containing photos of underage children. In a prepared statement, Heavenly spokesperson Kevin ‘Coop’ Cooper condemned the findings saying, “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.”
Multiple law enforcement agencies including the FBI, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, and the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office are continuing to investigate. The prosecutor on the case is Assistant U.S. Attorney Shannon M. Bryant.