APS para charged with possessing, disseminating child porn

Published 6:32 pm Friday, October 21, 2022

No information that any APS students were involved

 

An Austin Public Schools employee, who has been put on leave, has been arrested and charged with a pair of felonies related to pornographic works involving minors.

Vincent Vaughn Askelson, 31, of Austin, a para-educator in the Austin Public Schools District was arrested late Thursday  morning and charged with one felony count each of dissemination of pornographic work involving minors and possession of pornographic work involving minors.

He made his first appearance Friday morning in Mower County District Court.

Vincent Vaughn Askelson

According to a release by Austin Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Joey Page late Thursday afternoon, school administration was aware of the charges and were working with police.

“The district is fully cooperating with law enforcement officials as they conduct their investigation and will continue to do so,” Page said in the letter to families and staff. “There is no information that any Austin Public Schools students were involved.”

According to the court complaint, an Austin Police Department detective was alerted by Internet Crimes Against Children that Snapchat had alerted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children of a user who had uploaded, shared or saved 19 files suspected of containing pornographic works involving minors on June 1, 2022.

Snapchat provided an IP address, phone number, date of birth, email address and username associated with the files.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) issued subpoenas to Snapchat, Google and Sprint for information connected to the case and received information that belonged to Askelson.

Upon review of the information, the detective discovered three files that were explicit and involved children under the age of eight years old.

The detective obtained a search warrant for Askelson, his vehicle and his residence, seizing a silver laptop, Samsung tablet, Galaxy S9 cellphone and Galaxy S21+ cellphone.

When Askelson was questioned as to whether or not police would find explicit material of children, he allegedly confirmed that he had visited the “dark web” and had allegedly admitted that he had seen material. However, he also said he wasn’t trying to find the material and that it had just popped up.

He also denied downloading material.

The complaint goes on to say that on Oct. 18, 2022, the detective reviewed the S21+ cellphone and found explicitly named files in the downloads. The phone was sent to the BCA for further analysis.

Two videos containing pornographic works involving children were also discovered on the laptop, and numerous photos were discovered on Askelson’s old phone. Both devices were also sent to the BCA.

A pre-trial date of March 31, 2023 has been set.