ALTOONA, Wisc. (WEAU)-Prosecutors have filed new charges against the former daycare worker accused of having child pornography on his computer.
Twenty-six-year-old Thomas West of Altoona had a court appearance Thursday where he was charged with two counts of First Degree Sexual Assault of a child. He also faces one count of Intimidation of a Victim.
West was a teacher at the Altoona Family Child Care Center. He was investigated after a social worker reported that a four-year-old boy said he may have been inappropriately touched about 100 times while he was going to the bathroom.
The criminal complaint said a six-year-old also was touched inappropriately. It said a man told investigators he asked his son if anything ever happened with West. The dad said his son tried to change the subject and didn't want to tell his parents because he didn't want to get in trouble and promised to keep it a secret.
Officers said they found two videos on West’s computer that showed underaged boys engaging in sex acts. Prosecutors said West was not legally obligated to hand over his computer and did so voluntarily, but later admitted he had deleted child porn videos from it. West’s bond was also increased from $2,000 to $20,000 Thursday because of the severity of the new charges and an online posting he made looking for a nanny position in Germany.
"We had concerns about his ties to Eau Claire ... and whether or not he was looking to move elsewhere, Eau Claire County District Attorney Brian Wright said.
Wright said he's prepared for a trial, but that there's more investigating to do, and more charges are possible.
"There are other children that are presently being interviewed at the Child Advocacy Center, it's my understanding that those interviews will be going on for some time," Wright said.
West could face more than 100 years in prison if convicted.
STORY FROM 6/19/2012
ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) - When parents place their kids in the care of another adult, there is a guarded trust. But sometimes, people are not always who they say they are.
Thomas J. West was a caregiver at the Altoona Child Care Center. He passed a police background check and was deemed fit to work with children. But now he is behind bars and charged with two counts of possessing child pornography.
According to the criminal complaint, the investigation started less than two weeks ago. A social worker reported that a 4 year old may have been inappropriately touched by West.
On June 12th, police asked West to turn over his computer. On it, they found two videos of young boys engaging in sex acts. Both videos were downloaded from the internet.
The complaint goes on to say, "the defendant in interview said they he had child pornography to satisfy his curiosity. He said his preference is for boys between eight and twelve but also as young as six years old."
Police say the daycare center removed West and has been helping police with the case.
Parents picking up their kids from daycare received a letter detailing the situation. Part of it read, "in situations like this it is normal to fear something bad has happened to our children. Please do not panic."
While no parents wanted to talk on camera, one told us they were too in shock to comment. Both the daycare provider and Altoona police chief also declined to comment.
(WEAU) - A former daycare worker is now charged with having child pornography on his computer.
According to the criminal complaint, Thomas West, 26, of Altoona had two videos that showed under aged boys engaging in sex acts.
West worked at the Altoona Family Child Care Center.
He was investigated after a social worker reported that a 4-year-old may have been inappropriately touched. Monday night, West is in jail on a $2,000 cash bond.
The Altoona Police Chief declined to comment on the case Monday, but says there is a news conference scheduled for Tuesday.