CLEARFIELD – A 48-year-old Clearfield man is facing felony charges for allegedly possessing child pornography.
Robert Earl Davis III has been charged by the Office of Attorney General with 25 counts of child pornography and one count of criminal use of a communication facility, all of which are third-degree felonies.
Davis was arraigned at 10:21 a.m. Thursday with his bail being set at $25,000 unsecured. Online court documents indicate that Davis has also waived his right to a preliminary hearing in the case.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, a special agent with the AG’s child predator unit was conducting an online investigation Feb. 2, 2017 to identify people possessing child pornography using a file sharing network.
He reviewed requests logged by undercover law enforcement nodes and observed that an IP address was routing and or requesting blocks to file(s) that are believed to contain child pornography.
“The number and timing of the requests by the user was significant enough to indicate that the user at this IP address was the original requester of suspected child pornography,” the agent said.
On Feb. 17, 2017, an administrative subpoena was issued to Atlantic Broadband seeking the release of subscriber and other pertinent information regarding the IP address’ user. Atlantic Broadband indicated that “Robert Davis” was the assigned account holder and subscriber; Davis’ street address was provided also.
On March 6, 2017, an AG intelligence analyst conducted an online search of the targeted address for public records through an investigative platform. The search indicated that Davis had public records associated with the provided Clearfield street address.
The AG analyst also conducted a query within the Pennsylvania Justice Network (JNET) portal. It was to determine if PennDOT had any driver information for Davis. PennDOT records also confirmed that Davis’ current driver’s license was registered to the targeted address.
On March 9, 2017, the agent and Clearfield Borough police executed a search warrant at an address in the 500 block of East Sixth Street, Clearfield. Davis was not at home, but his parents were at the scene.
Authorities made contact with Davis and he was requested to return home. While waiting for Davis to return, authorities were advised that Davis carries a laptop between his home and a family hunting camp in Covington Township.
Davis was asked about a computer in a locked bedroom, and he confirmed it belonged to him. However, he declined to tell authorities if he used encryption. Davis was then informed that he was suspected of using a file sharing network and possibly in possession of child pornography.
Davis asked to speak with an attorney before answering any further questions. However, he did say that he’s downloaded a lot of things in the past but wasn’t certain exactly what he’s downloaded.
Davis was presented with a consent search document for his vehicle to determine if a laptop computer or any other media storage devices were located inside. Davis authorized for a search, which turned up a large hard drive and a power cord for a laptop.
Davis was asked about the location of his laptop computer. He said it could be at the family camp or at work, and he wasn’t sure if it even worked. Upon investigation, it was located at the camp and didn’t contain a hard drive, which made it inoperable.
Multiple electronic storage devices consisting of numerous gigabytes of data were seized from Davis’ locked bedroom. The agent submitted the devices to the AG’s computer forensic unit for further analysis.
On Aug. 10, 2017, a report was issued finding evidence of the possession child pornography media files and or suspected child pornography media files on four, different storage devices seized from Davis.
On an internal-style hard drive, an AG agent allegedly found more than 4,850 file names indicative of child pornography. These were located in five labeled folders and there were five movie files that suggested child pornography content.
Using the lost folder recovery option, the agent allegedly recovered 870 files with names indicative of child pornography. Other files were not recovered but were found to be present at one time and overwritten on the device.
Twenty files were found on a USB thumb drive with names indicative of child pornography; these were once present and overwritten on the device. Contained within the deleted file names was an acronym, which commonly suggests pedophilia, according to the affidavit.
A computer located in Davis’ bedroom, which he stated only he had access to, contained three hard drives. The agent found two hard drives had evidence that was indicative that he was knowingly in possession of child pornography.
The first hard drive contained over 870 instances of the IP address that was discovered routing and or requesting block files that are known or suspected to contain child pornography in this investigation.
There was a subsequent search for the file sharing network, and its name was found over 3,500 times. However, these occurrences and evidence are believed to be an encrypted “R” drive within this hard drive that can’t be accessed.
The agent also found a program on the drive that’s utilized to locate duplicate files on a user’s computer. An examination of the log files this program creates upon its use indicated that the “W” drive allegedly had over 900 files with names indicative of child pornography within its file structure. The “W” drive is suspected to be an encrypted drive within the hard drive and also can’t be accessed.
The agent examined the Windows system, and there were over 1,500 media files containing apparent child pornography. Further, there were 120 graphic/media files containing apparent child pornography that were “carved” from Davis’ device.
During the agent’s examination of the second hard drive, he recovered a Windows 8 virtual back-up file. The file is encrypted, but the examination of its contents suggests that it had previously been mounted as drive “W” within Davis’ computer system.
Upon completion of his examination, the agent allegedly located an acronym associated with pedophilia over 580 times within the encrypted Windows 8 virtual back-up file.
The agent said he has 25 media files with apparent child pornography recovered from Davis’ computer.