Published: Tuesday, December 21, 2010, 11:30 PM ??? Updated: Wednesday, December 22, 2010, 1:23 AM
A former worker at a Hoover day care has been charged with enticing a Montana boy to send sexually explicit images of himself over the Internet, according to federal court records.
An attorney for the parents of at least one child?at Bright Horizons day care on Riverchase Parkway said parents were "livid" and concerned about any contact the man may have had with their children.
Robert Shane Wilkins, 33, of Homewood, was arrested Thursday and charged in federal court in Montana with conspiracy to sexually exploit children, sexual exploitation of children, distribution of child pornography.
U.S. Magistrate Judge John E. Ott today ordered Wilkins, described as a day care worker who taught third-graders, to continue to be held in jail and ordered U.S. Marshals to transport him to Montana to face the charges.
Wilkins' attorney, Michael V. Rasmussen, responded to the charges.
"He (Wilkins) will be taken to Montana and answer the charges there," Rasmussen said "At this point the allegations concern pornography and not the actual sexual touching of a child. I don't expect there to be any charges concerning that," he said.
Wilkins and another man, Anthony Steven Rodriguez, of Georgia, are accused of both using a YouTube account with the user name "funandfreaky7," according to an FBI affidavit in the case. The men under that user name pretended to be a pre-teen girl.
A 10-year-old Helena, Montana, boy told law enforcement that he had received a friend request from "funandfreaky7" asking to be friends and sending him a video of a preteen girl exposing herself. The child made several sexually explicit videos of himself at "funandfreaky7's" request and sent them to "funandfreaky7," according to the FBI affidavit.
The mother of the boy had called law enforcement in Helena, Montana, on Dec. 6 to report the activity on her son's computer, according to an FBI agent's affidavit in the case.
Rodriguez, who is a convicted sex offender, also has been arrested and charged in the case.
A search of Wilkins' residence -- he lives with his parents -- resulted in the recovery of a computer "that the defendant admitted would contain child pornography," according to Ott's detention order.
Wilkins admitted to communicating with the child in Montana and also to working with Rodriquez to entice children to "self-produce" sexually explicit videos, according to Ott's order.
Ott noted at the bottom of one page of his order Tuesday that prosecutors referenced in the hearing that Wilkins "may have commented to Rodriguez about possibly having engaged in sexual contact with a neighborhood child." No evidence, however, was offered at the hearing about that allegation, according to Ott's order.
Eric Guster, an attorney representing at least one family who has a child at Bright Horizons day care on Riverchase Parkway, said that parents were notified by the day care about the arrest of Wilkins.
Wilkins was fired last week from that day care, Guster said.
Bright Horizons is a day care operated under contract with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, Guster said. Employees of that insurance company use the day care for their children, he said.
Efforts to get comments from?Bright Horizons were not successful?Tuesday.
Bright Horizons officials met with parents Tuesday, Guster said. Parents are concerned about why Wilkins was working there and whether he may have videotaped or taken photographs of their children, or had any inappropriate contact with their children, he said.
"They (parents) are livid to think that their children were exposed to someone who has been accused of this type of activity," Guster said.
Peggy Sanford, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorneys Office in Birmingham, said federal authorities in Birmingham assisted Montana authorities in Wilkins' arrest. "We are looking into whether there were any violations of federal law here," she said.?
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