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Lee man arrested for child porn

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

LEESBURG, Ga. -- Nude pictures of 11- to- 13-year-old girls saved on a computer resulted in a Lee County man being sent to jail.

Erik Arne Sandal, 19, was arrested Sunday for possessing child porn as he went to collect his computer from a technician who was repairing it, said Lee County Sheriff Reggie Rachals.

"In a computer child-pornography case we made on Sunday the information came in from a concerned computer repair person where they came across some, what they thought was pornographic material," Rachals said. "The first part of the material they saw on the computer was approximately 70 non-nude, pre-teen sites, which is unfortunately legal. Then they found nude pictures of girls under the age of 16, which is illegal."

The first group of pictures included girls dressed in underwear, Rachals said. In the illegal pictures, the girls were not engaged in any acts, but nude, Rachals said.

Sandal's computer was turned over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for further investigation in case there is more child porn on it, Rachals added.

"People like this technician make our jobs easier by reporting it (child porn). I am proud to be part of this arrest," Rachals said. "I want people to know we are not going to tolerate it (child porn)."

This is the second case of computer child porn in the county. If there are more to investigate, two deputies have been trained in the procedures involving legal searches of computer files.

The training in computer searches was free with deputies incurring only travel expenses, Rachals said. The deputies received two free computers and even had their motel rooms paid for, he added.

Sandal was freed on $2,000 bond from the Lee County Jail. If found guilty, he could face five to 20 years in prison on each count of the crime, said Lewis Lamb chief assistant district attorney in the Southwestern Judicial Circuit, which includes Lee County.

"All child porn charges fall under sexual exploitation of children state statutes," Lamb said. "Each picture could be a count, but usually one computer is one count."