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A man who once licensed foster care homes for the state pleaded guilty Friday to two federal counts of distribution of child pornography.
Darrell J. Rogers, who was 51 when he was arrested in April, was indicted following a search of his home in the 7100 block of North Westgate Place in the Indian Trail neighborhood of Spokane.
Rogers admitted using Internet file sharing programs to obtain the pornography, including images of children as young as months old, and denied that he ever inappropriately touched children.
His attorney Matthew Campbell and Assistant U.S. Attorney Earl Hicks agreed on a sentencing recommendation of five years in federal prison.
U.S. District Court Judge Justin Quackenbush set the sentencing for Nov. 13 at 10 a.m.
Hicks said the material federal agents downloaded from Rogers is some of the worst he's encountered in his 36 years of practicing law.
A state social services employee arrested on child pornography charges April 17 has been indicted by a federal grand jury.
Darrell J. Rogers, 51, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to two counts of distribution of child pornography. The charges carry five years to 20 years in prison and registration as a sex offender if convicted.
Rogers, a married father with no criminal history, was allowed to leave jail a few days after his arrest after undergoing a mental health assessment.
A prosecutor said the material federal agents downloaded from Rogers, who licenses foster homes for children, is some of the worst he's encountered in his 36 years of practicing law.
A state social services employee accused of distributing child pornography must undergo a mental health evaluation before he can leave jail, a judge ruled today.
A federal prosecutor said the material distributed by Darrell J. Rogers, who licenses foster homes for children, is some of the worst he's encountered in his 36 years of practicing law.
"This is not normal child pornography," Assistant U.S. Attorney Earl Hicks said at Rogers' bail hearing in U.S. District Court. "This is child pornography that is very disturbing."
The material includes a video of a 3-month-old girl being raped by an adult male, Hicks said.
"This is not like trading baseball cards," Hicks said. "What kind of person would have an interest in this?…Most people are disgusted by it, and most people would ask 'what's wrong with this person?'"
Rogers, 51, is a married father of two with no criminal history. He's lived in Spokane his entire life and has worked for the state Department of Health and Human Services since 1995. Family, friends and coworkers attended his hearing; some left afterward in tears.
Distributing child pornography carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison for each image.
U.S Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno will review Rogers' mental health evaluation. Rogers and his wife must pay $25,000 bond to secure his release from jail. If he is released, Rogers will be confined to his home and must wear an electric monitor. Firearms that FBI agents found in his home during a search on Tuesday must be removed.
Imbrogno called the conditions "perhaps about as stringent as they get for this type of charge," she said.
Hicks cited Rogers’ employment as a person in a position of trust with children as further reason for a mental health evaluation.
"He's leading a double life, in effect," Hicks said.
A DSHS spokesman said Rogers will be reassigned to a position in which he does not have contact with children if he's released from jail pending the resolution of his case. Imbrogno said she'll decide if Rogers can be employed after reading his evaluation.
Rogers has been in the Spokane County Jail since Tuesday, when FBI agents arrested him at his home in the 7100 block of North Westgate Place in the Indian Trail area in north Spokane and seized a computer containing sexually explicit images of children.
The FBI began investigating him in February after an agent in Maryland downloaded child pornography from an Internet Protocol address linked to Rogers' home.
The material features the infant and children up to six years old, Hicks said.
Rogers told the FBI the material was on a computer in the guest bedroom when questioned, Hicks said.
Rogers also told investigators he'd never hurt a child and would contact authorities if he knew of someone who was. He said he wasn't sexually attracted to children but was "trying to figure out" child pornography.
Hicks said Rogers' response was typical "even from people who have been diagnosed as pedophiles."
"I'm not saying Rogers is; I'm saying that's a typical response," Hicks said.
He called the assertion that viewing and distributing child pornography doesn't harm children "bunk."
"Fifty-one-year-olds creating generations of pedophiles. If we look at the facts, that’s what happens in a lot of circumstances," Hicks said.
Public defender Matthew Campbell said a mental health evaluation isn't necessary and said Rogers is not a danger to the community. "He has no criminal history," Campbell said.
Campbell said prosecutors have not opposed pre-trial release in other child pornography cases, but Hicks said the cases didn't involve three month olds being raped by adult males.
A state social services employee who licenses foster care homes was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of child pornography possession.
Darrell J. Rogers, 51, is in the Spokane County Jail without bail after appearing in U.S. District Court Tuesday afternoon. FBI agents arrested him at his home in the 7100 block of North Westgate Place in the Indian Trail area in north Spokane, where he lives with his wife, Kim Rogers, 49.
Kim Rogers also is a social worker with the state Department of Social and Health Services who specializes in finding homes for children who are wards of the state. Her husband licenses those homes, a neighbor said.
Darrell Rogers told FBI agents his wife had nothing to do with the child pornography they were investigating, according to court documents. The FBI began investigating Rogers in February after an agent in Maryland downloaded child pornography from an Internet user in Spokane.
The material includes children as young as approximately three months old being sexually assaulted by men and women.
Darrell Rogers was a social worker for 10 years beginning in 1995, said Thomas Shapley, DSHS spokesman. He began licensing foster homes in 2005, Shapley said.
Rogers is barred from entering his workplace, and his computer access has been locked. Should he be released from jail pending the resolution of the case, “we've already prepared an alternative work assignment for him where he would not have any contact with children,” Shapley said.
FBI agents say Rogers admitted Tuesday to using Internet file sharing programs and said no one else in the home, including his wife and two sons, would have used the screen names associated with the explicit material.
"Agents asked if he knew of any really bad people who he traded with that specifically harmed children," according to court documents. "Rogers responded that he did not know of anyone who was abusing children, and had he known he would have reported it."
Rogers told federal agents he had had no sexual interest in the material but was "trying to figure it out," documents say.
"When asked about how long he had an interest in child pornography, Rogers stated that he did not know, and that he would never touch a child, and would never molest children," agents wrote.
Rogers is due back in court Friday for a hearing to determine if he can be allowed out of jail on bail pending trial.