Crime

Bellingham police say man possessed, viewed and distributed child porn on computer

Federal program targets online child predators

The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force was developed federally in 1998 as the number of children and teenagers using the internet increased and child sexual abuse images became available electronically, authorities say.
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The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force was developed federally in 1998 as the number of children and teenagers using the internet increased and child sexual abuse images became available electronically, authorities say.

Bellingham police arrested a 66-year-old man they believe possessed, viewed and distributed pornographic images on his personal computer of children engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

Steven Joseph Ficken turned himself in to police Tuesday, Aug., 6, and was booked into Whatcom County Jail.

Ficken was released on personal recognizance later in the day, according to jail records. Whatcom County Superior Court records show he is scheduled for an Aug. 16 arraignment.

According to information provided to The Bellingham Herald by Lt. Claudia Murphy, police were able to identify an IP address on a computer during a lengthy investigation that led investigators to suspect Ficken.

Murphy said it was determined that Ficken was in possession of images of minors — some as young as 6 years old — engaging in sexual conduct.

Evidence showed that Ficken was viewing those images and also making them available for others to download.

Murphy said said there were at least 24 images on multiple hard drives, though she added images can easily be downloaded, viewed and erased. She also said none of the kids in the images were suspected to be local.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.
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