Lariat Charles
Lariat Charles (Courtesy of San Juan County Adult Detention Center)

FARMINGTON   San Juan County Sheriff’s Office investigators arrested a Bloomfield man on suspicion of possessing and creating child pornography and molesting children. 

Lariat Charles, 39, was arrested March 8. During a six-month investigation, sheriff’s office deputies found images of children being sexually assaulted on Charles’ computer and videos of children showering at Charles’ home near the 600 block of County Road 4990, according to a sheriff’s office news release.

The investigation started on Oct. 6, when an agent for the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office found that a user at a San Juan County Internet Protocol address was downloading suspicious pictures through a peer-to-peer file sharing program.

The IP address was traced to a San Juan County woman’s home, and Charles was her boyfriend, according to court documents.

San Juan County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jimmy Dearing, who specializes in computer forensics, analyzed computers found at the woman’s home. The computers had hundreds of images and videos of girls, from toddlers to 10-year-olds, who were naked or performing sex acts on adult men, according to court documents.

Dearing also found videos of Charles’ girlfriend’s daughter and her friend showering at the home.        

In an interview with police, Charles allegedly admitted to possessing child pornography and filming the girls in the shower. He also allegedly admitted to molesting the girls he filmed while they slept, according to the news release.

He also said he hid a “spy camera” in the bathroom to record the girls showering.  

Charles was charged with two counts of sexual exploitation of children by manufacturing, two counts of sexual exploitation of children by possession, criminal sexual contact of a minor and voyeurism. He is being held on a $150,000 cash-only bond.

“This case is very disturbing on many levels,” Sheriff Ken Christesen said in a prepared statement. “It reinforces why we in law enforcement must be vigilant and proactive to remove these predators from society.”

Ryan Boetel covers crime for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and rboetel@daily-times.com. Follow him on @rboetel on Twitter.