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19 Face Child Porn Charges After Sweep by Task Force

Prosecutor says the suspects are 'from all walks of life.' Two are registered offenders.

October 31, 2003|Richard Winton | Times Staff Writer

A task force of federal agents and local law enforcement officers fanned out across Southern California on Thursday in raids capping a lengthy investigation that netted 19 suspects on child pornography charges.

Eleven were arrested Thursday. Three others have agreed to plead guilty, including a 29-year-old man who worked in children's television production, authorities said.

"These crimes involve the exploitation of children, the possession and receiving of child pornography and enticing minors to have sex," said Assistant U.S. Atty. Sally Meloch. "These are people from all walks of life committing these crimes."

Among those arrested was Scott Alan Ellsworth, a 37-year-old former teacher, who allegedly accessed child pornography on a computer at the Cal State Northridge library.

Another suspect, Randall Steven Eichert, 51, of La Palma, is a former employee of the L.A. County Office of Education. He was charged with possessing child pornography after he was prosecuted earlier for unauthorized access of the office's computer network.

Humberto Castaneda Padilla, 38, was charged with using the Internet to entice a minor -- an undercover officer -- to engage in sex.

Those who authorities say have agreed to plead guilty are Jason Michael Handy, 29, of Sherman Oaks, a children's television producer; Jeffrey Resnick, 39, of Mission Viejo; and Marvin Gerhard Starr, 40, of Santa Monica.

Also charged with possession or distribution of child pornography were Ricardo Antonio Arana, 23, of La Puente; Thomas Raymond Casselberry III, 40, of Torrance; Robert James Fitch, 36, of Palmdale; Jesse Junior Fowlkes, 65, of Lancaster; David Michael Hotz, 47, of Hemet; Donald Ikari, 49, of Los Angeles; Clifford Loree, 64, of Corona, a registered sex offender; Paul Nyhan, 31, of Los Angeles, a registered sex offender; James O'Neill, 46, of San Jacinto; Zeev Vardi, 48, of North Hollywood; Don Woodfield, 52, of Green Valley Lake; and Raymond Allan Yoder, 50, of Lancaster.

Arrested earlier this month was Marcus William Fox, 35, of Aliso Viejo.

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