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Doctor Jailed In Child-Porn Internet Case N.M. Physician Accused Of Using Computer To Transmit Photos

A Public Health Service doctor from New Mexico is in jail in Spokane, charged with using the Internet to transmit 23 pictures of children engaged in sex acts.

Some of the children appear to be as young as 7 years old, court documents say.

Dr. Barry Kottler, 30, of Crownpoint, N.M., also is charged in U.S. District Court with one count of aggravated sexual abuse.

That charge alleges the family-practice physician flew to Spokane, intending to photograph and have sex with the 8-year-old daughter of a woman who had received the pictures over the Internet.

But there was no child and the woman really was an undercover Spokane police officer who was working with U.S. Customs Service agents in the child-porn sting operation.

Authorities said the case unfolded after Kottler began Internet discussions with someone who turned out to be a federal agent monitoring child-porn “chat rooms” on the Internet.

Kottler was arrested Friday evening after he had flown from Albuquerque, N.M., to Spokane and went to a local hotel with the undercover officer.

Authorities say Kottler sent four computer picture files from New Mexico to Spokane on Jan. 20.

In court documents, Customs Service agent Marcus Lawson says the pictures showed boys and girls under age 16 involved in sexually explicit conduct.

On Jan. 21, the documents allege, Kottler sent five more computer files of other children, some appearing to be as young as 7 years old.

He is accused of sending other images in files transmitted on Jan. 22, 23 and 26, court documents say.

When he got to Spokane, the suspect showed the undercover officer a digital camera he intended to use to take pornographic pictures of the 8-year-old girl.

He was arrested as he and the undercover officer headed to a hotel room where he thought the girl was waiting.

U.S. Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno ordered the physician held without bond.

Formal charges are expected after the case is presented to a federal grand jury later this month.

The doctor currently is charged in a criminal complaint with five counts of using a computer to transmit pictures of minors engaged in sex acts and a sixth count of sexual abuse.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Rice said Kottler works as a Public Health Service physician on the Navajo Indian Reservation.

He is assigned to Crownpoint Healthcare, about 125 miles northwest of Albuquerque, N.M., where he has worked since last September.

After the arrest in Spokane, Customs Service agents in New Mexico served federal search warrants at the doctor’s office and home.

A computer and related files were seized at the physician’s home, authorities said.

Customs Service agents will attempt to determine if Kottler had any improper contact with children through the Indian Health Service, Rice said.

Dr. Douglas Peter, chief medical officer for the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, said he and other staff members are cooperating fully with investigators.

“The actions of the U.S. Customs Service and Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety to ensure the safety of our communities are to be commended,” Peter said.

Kottler was placed on leave immediately after his arrest, Peter said.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo



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