Local woman faces porn production and distribution charges

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A Woodland Park woman with long ties to the area could face between 15 and 30 years behind bars and a $250,000 fine, if convicted of producing and transporting child pornography, as part of a multi-agency investigation involving federal and local authorities.

Last week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office In Denver, in a press release, announced pending charges against Rhiannon Carnahan, 29, of Woodland Park and Brandon Tyler Hill, 29, of Colorado Springs for assisting each other in the production, aiding, abetting and transporting of child pornography. The charges reportedly stem from allegations that the two sexually exploited a child by capturing abuse on camera and then broadcasted the footage online. Officials, though, haven’t released any details regarding the specifics of the investigation, but allege that the two worked together in producing and transporting child pornography.

The case was investigated by the Colorado Springs Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, along with support assistance by the Woodland Park Police Department. The inquiry is associated with Operation Predator, an international initiative started by the Homeland Security Investigations to protect children from sexual predators. This project has already resulted in the arrest of 12,000 individuals, according to Homeland Security officials.

Both Carnahan and Hill, who were indicted by a federal grand jury last month, have been detained without bond. They have appeared before a U.S. Magistrate judge and have been advised of their rights, according to authorities. Hill and Carnahan are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alecia Riewerts, who serves as the district coordinator the Project Safe Childhood. Authorities caution that the two are presumed innocent while their cases proceed through the legal system.

Regardless, the announcement is bound to create much angst within social service circles in Teller County and the Pikes Peak region. Sexual abuse of children has been touted as a big subject of concern by community leaders. Carnahan attended the Cripple Creek-Victor High School and was well regarded in the community, according to sources.

The case is part of a growing crackdown against child pornography that is targeting Colorado. Besides the arrest of Carnahan and Hill, the U.S. Attorney’s Office last week also cited Matthew Scott Hold, 34, and Jordain Larsen, 26, of Westminster for similar offenses. They were indicted on June 9. They are accused of sexually exploiting one child under the age of 3 and a second child under the age of 12, according to authorities.

The suspects in these cases face between 15 and 30 years in federal prison and up to a $250,000 fine for each child pornography production count. They also face between five and 20 years behind bars for the distributing and transporting of child pornography.