How Investigators Tracked Child Porn to an Ex-Child Protective Worker in Birmingham

William Shaffer, a former Child Protective Services worker who lives in Birmingham, got busted on child porn charges the old fashioned way: through diligent police work.

A criminal complaint filed Monday against Shaffer, 71, in federal court in Detroit says that in 2010 the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and a foreign law enforcement agency began investigating a movie production company that operated a website offering DVDs and streaming videos of child pornography, including nude boys engaged in food fights. The company operated outside the U.S.

A postal inspector's affidavit says law enforcement discovered that the company had a shipping facility in North Tonawnda, N.Y. In May 2011, a search warrant led to a raid that showed materials were shipped to domestic and foreign customers.

William Shaffer of Radnor Street in Birmingham was in the customer database, which showed that from 2006-11 he ordered about 220 videos totaling $6,940.

Last year, a grand jury subpoena was issued to Comcast and Yahoo! for email information about Shaffer. Last November, a search warrant was executed at his Birmingham address. 

"During the execution of this warrant," the affidavit says, "printed images of child pornography, a computer, an external hard drive, CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes and a City of Westland Police report were sezied. The police report was dated October 15, 1987, and it alleged William Shaffer sexually molested a boy who was between the ages of 8 and 9 years. The report alleged the incident occured while Shaffer was a Child Protective Service employee."

During the search, he agreed to be interviewed by law enforcement. The affidavit said he admitted ordering the videos of nude boys and that the company that sold them said they were not illegal.

In March, investigators contacted the boy who alleged Shaffer molested him in the 1987 report.  The person confirmed he was molested but did not want to be interviewed, the affidavit reported.

On May 21, the Michigan State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force completed a forensic exam of Shaffer's external computer hard drive and found evidence of child porn.

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