BOTHELL — Timothy Dale O’Brien was having some trouble last summer at his job managing finances for a large construction company. Indeed, his performance reportedly had slipped enough that his bosses decided the time had come to let him go.
On a day the company knew O’Brien wouldn’t be working, officials had information technology workers remotely access and begin transferring files from the laptop computer he’d been issued.
The company’s tech manager first noticed the data transfer was much larger than expected, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Robert Grant said in court papers.
On closer inspection, the reason became clear, the prosecutor added. The tech manager allegedly discovered recorded web cam videos of children being subjected to sexual abuse. The victims reportedly were young enough to be in kindergarten.
O’Brien, 65, of Bothell, was charged last week in Snohomish County Superior Court with three counts of first-degree possession of depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, or in other words, collecting child pornography.
Company officials contacted law enforcement after first gathering up the laptop, iPhone and iPad he’d been issued. They let O’Brien know what they’d found.
“O’Brien said he had no excuse for what they found,” Grant wrote in court papers.
The case was assigned to the federal Department of Homeland Security because O’Brien’s employer did business in multiple states.
Search warrants were obtained and analysis performed on the materials pulled off the digital devices O’Brien had used.
In all, investigators uncovered nearly 3,000 videos and close to 8,000 images of suspected child pornography, Grant wrote.
O’Brien in March was interviewed by federal agents. He reportedly waived his rights to remain silent and to speak with legal counsel and instead admitted seeking out and collecting child pornography.
“O’Brien stated that it was horrible and that he deserved this embarrassment,” Grant wrote.
The man went on to describe how he had “stumbled across the child pornography while looking at adult pornography and it became a fascination,” court papers said.
O’Brien has no known criminal history. He has been free on his own recognizance while the case has been investigated.
Prosecutors are asking for a court order to bar him from contact with children while the case works through the courts.
Scott North: 425-339-3431; email@example.com. Twitter: @snorthnews.