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Anchorage radio DJ arrested on child porn charges

  • Author: Jerzy Shedlock
  • Updated: September 28, 2016
  • Published December 5, 2014

Anchorage police arrested an Anchorage radio DJ on Thursday evening for possession and distribution of child pornography, as well as online enticement of a minor.

James Laplante, also known as Jimmy O'Brien, works as the morning DJ at KASH 107.5, police said. Laplante's Facebook page, under his on-air alias, says he has been a program director for the country music station since September 2000 and lives in Palmer.

He was arrested after investigators with the Anchorage Police Department's Cyber Crimes Unit and the Technical Crimes Unit of the Alaska Bureau of Investigation served search warrants on his home and office.

Laplante's employer, iHeartMedia Inc. (formerly Clear Channel Communications), did not immediately return a call for comment.

Laplante faces five charges: three counts of distribution of child porn and one count of possession, and a single count of online enticement of a minor. Adam Alexander, assistant attorney general with the Office of Special Prosecutions, said the sex felonies carry a maximum sentence of 99 years in prison.

Laplante made an initial court appearance Friday afternoon at the Anchorage Correctional Complex wearing a yellow prison jumpsuit. He said little other than "Thank you" as the brief hearing ended.

The prosecutor asked for and was granted the state's requested bail amount of $25,000 cash corporate, $25,000 cash appearance and a third-party custodian.

As part of the court's imposed conditions of release, Laplante is to have no contact with minors or use devices with Internet connections.

A magistrate judge appointed a public defender to represent Laplante.

The investigation into Laplante began when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children contacted APD with two "cybertips," according to the charges. The clearinghouse keeps victim information and aims to help law enforcement reduce child sexual exploitation.

A detective found Laplante uploaded 13 child porn images to an Instagram account between Sept. 16 and 18, with some of the uploaded pictures originating from his home address, the charges say.

The same email address used to set up the Instagram account tried to send child porn but was flagged by Google. According to police, Laplante tried to email the materials while he was at work. The charges say the email originated at iHeartMedia, which owns and operates KASH.

After determining the two tips originated from Laplante's home and work, police applied for and were granted search warrants.

"During an on-site forensic preview of Laplante's cell phone and work computer, investigators discovered a significant quantity of images of child sexual exploitation, and evidence that Laplante has used the social media texting application 'KIK' to solicit" images from children directly, the charges say.

Police looked at the chat history on the app, downloaded on an iPhone, and found an extensive chat history between Laplante and "numerous minors he solicited for nude images."

Investigators discovered more than 1,000 images of child sexual exploitation on an external hard drive connected to Laplante's work computer, the charges say.

Police contacted Laplante on Thursday after he finished his morning shift at the radio station. They say he admitted to the conduct outlined in the charges. He denied producing any child porn involving his biological and adopted children, the charges say.

An investigation is ongoing regarding potential sex abuse that may have occurred, police said.

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