Crime

Bellingham soccer referee charged with having child porn

A Bellingham soccer referee faces federal charges for allegedly posing as a teenage girl to obtain child pornography on the Internet.

Timon Anderson Berry was arrested Monday, Nov. 17, and is being charged in federal court for possession of child pornography after investigators discovered an email account in which Berry posed as a 15-year-old girl and traded sexually explicit content of minors, according to charging documents.

Berry, 28, was the vice president of youth for the Whatcom County Soccer Referees Association. Members of the organization could not be reached for comment Tuesday, and Berry's email information was removed from the organization’s website during the day. He has refereed soccer local youth soccer matches and at the college and professional levels.

Sex crimes investigators in Queensland, Australia, were searching for a child pornography collector when they found an email exchange that they traced back to a Bellingham home, according to charging papers filed in the U.S. District Court in Seattle. The email account contained more than 1,300 messages that referenced or contained sexually explicit images or videos, most of them of depicting minors, investigators said.

Investigators raided a home where Berry lived at 844 St. Andrews Way in Bellingham and seized his laptop and phone on Jan. 23, 2014. Berry told federal agents that he was a lead trainer for the Pacific Violence Prevention Institute in addition to working as a soccer referee.

Berry admitted to investigators that he was the only person with access to the email account, according to charging documents.

Berry had been listed as an official for college soccer games in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference and officiated an NCAA Division II game on Nov. 13 between Cal State Stanislaus and Seattle Pacific at Western Washington University. He also officiated professional soccer playoff games for the Seattle Reign.

Lance Calloway, executive director for the Whatcom County Youth Soccer Association, said Berry had stopped refereeing youth soccer games in 2011. He said Berry began as a referee at age 11.

Calloway said board members from the Whatcom County Soccer Referees Association told him that Berry had been removed from his position indefinitely. The Youth Soccer Association hires referees from the Referees Association.

Linda Velie, director of assignment for the Washington Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association, which assigns officials for college soccer games, said Berry is no longer employed as a referee for college games. She would not comment further.

Berry was released the same day of his arrest after appearing in U.S. District Court in Seattle. He’s expected back in court on Dec. 1.

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