State fair ride worker charged

EVERETT — A drifter who had been operating carnival rides for kids at the Evergreen State Fair in Monroe was charged Friday with multiple felonies related to trafficking in child pornography.

Dale Roy Fager, 38, was arrested Aug. 30 while he worked as an employee for the company that contracts to bring the carnival to the Snohomish County-owned fairgrounds.

Fager was wanted for arrest on a property crime warrant out of Indiana. Seattle police also had been on his trail for months after they developed evidence the man allegedly was downloading and sharing sexually explicit images of children, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Lisa Paul said in court papers.

She charged Fager with one count of dealing in child porn and three counts of possessing such images.

In a seven-page affidavit filed in Snohomish County Superior Court, Paul detailed how detectives zeroed in on the defendant.

The investigation began early this year when Microsoft alerted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that its digital services had been used to upload suspected child pornography. The images depicted children being sexually exploited and molested.

Police said the person used a distinctive online identity, “Karney37,” a possible play on the word carney, short for carnival worker.

Detectives obtained search warrants for related online accounts. The inbox for the man’s gmail “contained a fairly constant pattern of sending and receiving emails with other users interested in trading child pornography,” Paul wrote.

Further investigation connected the accounts to Fager, and evidence that he was working for the carnival company using a false name, according to court papers.

Detectives learned the defendant had obtained a social security card under the false name in Tacoma in January, and that he went to work for the carnival company a couple months later in California.

When arrested in Monroe, Fager allegedly told detectives that he’d been doing similar work for a couple of decades. He reportedly denied abusing anyone or looking at child pornography. He also claimed that several people had access to his phones and computer passwords over the years.

Detectives found multiple sexually explicit photographs of children on the man’s smartphone, several viewed as recently as Aug. 27, Paul wrote.

There’s no evidence that Fager engaged in any misconduct involving children while working at the fairgrounds, county officials said earlier. He’s been jailed on $250,000 bail.

Scott North: 425-339-3431; north@heraldnet.com.

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