FBI arrests Grand Junction man in online child porn investigation
A Grand Junction man allegedly admitted to federal agents to having sexually explicit online communications with more than a dozen underage girls, including an FBI agent working undercover online who received photos of child pornography.
Phillip Passopulo, 26, most recently living at 3197 Hill Ave. unit 2, was arrested Monday by the FBI in Avon and advised Tuesday of a possible charge of distribution of child pornography.
On Thursdsay, U.S. Magistrate Gordon Gallagher ordered Passopulo to be jailed without bond, concluding Passopulo is a flight risk.
According to an FBI agent’s complaint, Passopulo’s activities online came under scrutiny Aug. 14, 2013, when the mother of a 12-year-old girl in Tennessee reported that her daughter had been contacted by a man on Facebook, “Max Aiken.”
Aiken claimed to be a 14-year-old from Virginia and Colorado and expressed interest in meeting the Tennessee girl for sex, the complaint said.
The girl’s mother told police she intercepted a phone call to her daughter from Aiken. The mother said he sounded like a grown man, not a teenage boy.
“(Mother) confronted Aiken on the phone to which he replied he could not be caught and would not be caught,” the complaint said.
Soon after the exchange, an FBI agent assumed the Facebook identity of the 12-year-old girl. Aiken wrote about plans to travel from Colorado to Tennessee to meet the girl for sex, the complaint said. He allegedly sent along a picture of his penis, separate images of child pornography showing young girls and three videos of bestiality, according to the complaint. He urged her to send photos of herself and claimed he loved her.
“Aiken wanted (girl) to bring her dog into her bedroom and perform sexual acts with the dog,” the complaint said.
Authorities learned Aiken’s Facebook account was tied to an email address associated with Passopulo.
Federal agents executed a search warrant Monday at the Hill Avenue apartment where he’d been living and seized several computers, the complaint said. When he was arrested that same day in Avon, Passopulo allegedly admitted he was “Max Aiken.”
“He also admitted he had sexually explicit communications with as many as 13 young girls, (including Tennessee girl), and likes girls aged 11-15 years old,” the complaint said.
Passopulo faces a maximum possible 20 years in prison if convicted of distribution of child pornography.