Police: Child porn suspect's contact with kids under investigation

casey.grove@adn.comApril 5, 2013 

Michael Gene Russell

(PHOTO COURTESY ANCHORAGE POLICE DEPARTMENT)

Police arrested an Anchorage man on child pornography charges Tuesday, and detectives are now investigating his possible contact with children, a police spokeswoman said.

A co-worker of Michael Gene Russell, 35, found images of child pornography on a computer Russell had used and called police March 28, said Dani Myren, the police spokeswoman, in a written statement. Detectives interviewed Russell where he worked, and Russell admitted to having more child porn in work emails and on his personal cellphone, Myren said.

Russell worked at a parts counter in an industrial area and did not have routine contact with children, Detective James Estes said. Police are not identifying Russell's employer, which helped police seize the computer quickly before any files could be erased, Estes said.

The detectives served a search warrant on Russell's home, on North Park Street less than a block from Mountain View Elementary School. They found nearly 700 child pornography images, some showing girls as young as 5 years old, Myren said.

Russell was jailed on six felony counts: one count of distributing child pornography and five counts of possession of child pornography.

It was troubling to the detectives to learn of Russell's home's proximity to a school, Estes said.

"Since then, we found out his prior residence was right across the street from another elementary school," Estes said.

The investigators also found a journal in Russell's home in which he described in his own words an "inappropriate relationship" with a 12-year-old girl, Estes said.

The detectives hope to talk to the girl, her parents and any other children with whom Russell may have had contact, Estes said. It's common for child pornography suspects to have interest in sexually abusing children, the detective said.

"We know that based on studies that've been done across the United States," Estes said. "That's always in the back of our mind, but because of the evidence, including the journal, we have a more heightened concern on this investigation."

The detectives continue to investigate and ask that anyone with further information about Russell or his contact with children call police at 786-8900.

In the first four or five hours that Russell's picture was publicly available, the detectives had received multiple tips on the case, Estes said.

Reach Casey Grove at casey.grove@adn.com or 257-4589.

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