Warden man accused of voyeurism arrested on federal child porn charges

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Facebook photo Michael Leavitt

WARDEN — A former Warden substitute teacher and city council member who was arrested on voyeurism charges back in March was taken into custody on federal child pornography charges on Wednesday.

Warden Police Chief Rick Martin said Michael Leavitt was taken into custody on Wednesday by Warden police on a federal warrant for receipt of child pornography and possession of child pornography. Leavitt has been turned over to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Leavitt was previously charged in Grant County Superior Court with two counts of voyeurism in April, but he was released from custody after posting $85,000 bail in May.

Police originally started investigating Leavitt in October 2017 after a girl claimed he held a cellphone under her dress at school. Leavitt was questioned by police a few days later and the phone was seized for evidence and transferred to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s office in Spokane. An examination that was done on the phone reportedly turned up several videos that appeared to have been filmed secretly of younger females, one of which was taken during the Warden Community Days celebration in September 2017.

Evidence was gathered that indicates Leavitt deleted portions of his browsing history, including a website used to upload pictures and previous searches for child pornography. A search warrant was also obtained for Leavitt’s iCloud account, which led to the discovery that Leavitt had deleted videos he made of the initial victim. Another video reportedly shows young girls bending over “the teacher’s table.” When he was arrested Leavitt admitted to taking the videos and said he masturbated to the images.

Martin previously told the Columbia Basin Herald Leavitt began working as an emergency substitute in Warden in November 2016, but his time was limited and he subbed a total of 12 times, several of which were on half-days. After Leavitt was arrested for voyeurism in March the FBI’s investigation allegedly turned up evidence that Leavitt received child pornography in 2009 and possessed it in 2018.

Richard Byrd can be reached via email at city@columbiabasinherald.com.

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