Sterling man faces charges of child porn distribution

A 55-year-old Sterling man pleaded not guilty last week to numerous charges of child pornography possession and distribution, failing to register as a sex offender and violating the conditions of his release.

Michael Padilla is charged with 21 counts of child pornography distribution, all Class B felonies, four counts of possession of child pornography, all Class C felonies, three counts of failure to register as a sex offender, all Class A misdemeanors, and violating the conditions of his release, a Class B misdemeanor.

Padilla was arraigned in Kenai Superior Court before Judge Anna Moran on March 12. The case is set for trial starting the week of May 28 with Judge Carl Bauman.

According to an affidavit filed Feb. 21 by the Alaska Bureau of Investigation, Padilla is alleged to have been in possession of more than 30 movie files containing pornographic images of children on a desktop computer and on a separate hard drive.

Investigators say the computer files contained pornographic movies with children as young as 4 years old.

Alaska State Trooper Investigator Terrence Shanigan wrote in an affidavit that Padilla admitted to accessing a file sharing network on a daily basis for about three or four years to download child pornography. Troopers also say Padilla stated that he failed to report his change of residence, vehicle and employment on the state’s sex offender registry.

Padilla registered as a sex offender from a prior conviction in 2002 and is a suspect in a 2010 sexual assault, according to court records.

The investigation that led to Padilla’s arrest started in September of 2012. According to records, Padilla is believed to have downloaded pornography in several area locations, including a Soldotna coffee shop and a hotel. In late September of last year, Soldotna police escorted him out of a hotel after employees reported a suspicious person using the hotel power and internet without permission.

In October, investigators say Padilla followed young children through a Kenai neighborhood in his vehicle and attempted to contact them by rolling down his window and opening his door. Kenai Police Department officers contacted Padilla, who allegedly said he had stopped to make a call on his cell phone.

Authorities also say Padilla took the license plates off his old vehicle and placed them on a vehicle of the same make and year, but of a different color to avoid paying the registration fee.

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