No Bail For Former Tahoe Children’s Ski Instructor Facing Child Porn Charges

RENO, Nev. (AP) – A U.S. magistrate ordered a former children’s ski instructor at a Lake Tahoe resort held without bail indefinitely on Tuesday pending his federal trial on child pornography charges.

Judge William Cobb refused to set any bail conditions during a hearing in federal court in Reno for the 26-year-old northern Nevada man accused of photographing children as young as 3 in a bathroom at a rural daycare center his mother manages inside a church.

Cobb said he feared Stephan DeGraffenreid of Gardnerville might try to flee in the face of a potential life prison sentence, or more. But the judge said he was even more concerned about the potential danger he might pose to the public, especially children.

DeGraffenreid, who was fired from his job as an assistant at the Heavenly Ski Resort’s ski school, pleaded not guilty on April 6 to one count of sexual exploitation of a minor and two counts of attempted exploitation in addition to one count of possessing child porn.

A conviction on one count carries a 15-year minimum, with a maximum of 120 years combined on all four counts, Assistant U.S. Attorney Shannon Bryant said Tuesday.

“By his own admission, (he) cannot control his child pornography addiction and attraction to children,” Bryant said. He said that during interviews with detectives, DeGraffenreid “equated his behavior to having a ‘demon inside me.'”

DeGraffenreid also allegedly told detectives it was easier to resist urges to fantasize about students at the ski school because they “wear heavy clothing so he’s not able to see their bodies,” Bryant told the judge. “That should tell you there is an extreme danger to the community.”

Defense lawyer David Houston said that contrary to prosecutors’ claims, DeGraffenreid is not a pedophile or a predator. He took the photos from a distance outside an open bathroom door and never touched any of the children, Houston said.

“This is not a situation where (the) defendant was luring anyone into a specific position in order to be photographed,” he said.

Although DeGraffenreid “may possess recurrent sexual fantasies and urges involving prepubescent females, his alleged offenses are non-contact sexual offenses,” Houston wrote in a formal request for bail. He wanted him placed on house arrest with a GPS ankle bracelet and psychological counseling until the June 13 trial.

Houston told the judge he understands the “visceral reaction” to such behavior and in no way would attempt to justify it. But he said DeGraffenreid has cooperated with authorities, and been “open and forthright … implicating himself and setting forth his involvement.”

A psychological risk assessment conducted by Dr. Earl Nielsen found DeGraffenreid to be “a low to moderate risk for future sex crimes and a very low risk for violent or hands-on sex crimes,” Houston said.

“We can leave him incarcerated in jail until the eventual end of these proceedings, or perhaps help seek him help,” Houston said.

DeGraffenreid was arrested March 30 on a single count of sexual exploitation of a minor. A criminal complaint claims his cellphone found on the slopes at the Heavenly ski resort was filled with nude photos of prepubescent females he apparently downloaded from the internet.

Kevin Cooper, a spokesman for Heavenly Ski Resort, said DeGraffenreid was fired after resort officials learned about the investigation but had “no reason to believe that the alleged activity has any connection to Heavenly Ski Resort or its guests.”

 

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.

Comments

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From CBS Sacramento

Get Our App
Get The CBS Sacramento Weather AppGet the latest radar, CBS13 AppCasts and hour-by-hour forecasts. You can also send your weather pics.

Watch & Listen LIVE