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Hard drive containing child porn wasn't COC's

Posted: March 14, 2008 11:48 p.m.
Updated: May 16, 2008 5:03 a.m.
 

The child pornography found on an external hard drive at College of the Canyons was not associated with any of the college's computers, a COC spokesman said Friday.

COC public relations director John McElwain clarified on Friday that the external thumb drive was initially found in the photo department computer lab by an instructor. At that time, the instructor did not view the contents of the drive and placed it in the school's lost and found box, assuming a student had left it behind and would eventually come to reclaim it.

The Signal incorrectly reported the drive had been found Thursday. In fact, McElwain said, it was found last October.

When it still had not been claimed several weeks later, the instructor decided to look at the contents to see if he could determine the drive's owner.

"He plugged it in to see if he could figure out who it belonged to," said McElwain. "That's when the pornographic images were discovered."

Following school policy for such situations, the instructor immediately contacted the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and turned the device over to deputies on Nov. 6.

"There was no pornography on any college computer system or servers," McElwain said. "It was just one external hard drive left lying around by an individual," and did not belong to the college.

McElwain said the Sheriff's Department has been doing its due diligence to track down the person who put the images on the device, though he had not had an update from investigators since November.

Capt. Joe Gutierrez of the Sheriff's Department's Special Victims Bureau said Thursday that a search warrant had been issued at the Saugus residence of someone associated with the hard drive, and additional potential evidence was recovered.

He did not specify what that evidence was, nor whether the resident of the house on Tupelo Ridge Drive was the owner of the images.

The investigation is ongoing, and no arrests have been made so far, according to Gutierrez.

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