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March 7, 2021

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Former Evergreen Public Schools paraeducator faces child sex abuse imagery charges

By , Columbian Breaking News Reporter
Published:

A 61-year-old Camas man who worked as a paraeducator at Evergreen Public Schools stands accused of possessing child sexual abuse imagery.

Richard L. Blakesley appeared Friday in Clark County Superior Court to face four counts of first-degree possession of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. His bail was set at $20,000.

Court records from the hearing show Blakesley intends to hire a defense attorney. A bail review hearing is scheduled for today.

The school district’s spokeswoman, Gail Spolar, said Blakesley was employed as a special education paraeducator, an assistant who worked with special education students, from October 2019 to mid-June 2020. The district’s schools have been operating through remote learning since March, she said, so Blakesley would not have had direct contact with students for several months.

Blakesley would have been working with children in the months prior, however. Spolar did not have information about what schools Blakesley worked in during that time.

Blakesley is currently not working for the district, according to the spokeswoman.

A Vancouver Police Department Digital Evidence Cybercrime Unit detective was assigned Dec. 1 to follow up on three cyber tips possibly related to Blakesley, according to a probable cause affidavit. Google submitted all three tips, which had to do with child sexual abuse imagery.

Blakesley was found to be associated with two email accounts that uploaded 30 files of suspected child sexual abuse imagery to the internet through Google, according to the affidavit. His phone number was also tied to one of the email accounts, court records say.

The investigator wrote in the affidavit that he found a LinkedIn profile indicating Blakesley may work for Evergreen Public Schools.

Law enforcement also found Blakesley’s and his family’s Facebook pages, and after seeing images of him with children, specifically his grandchildren, an emergency information request was sent to Google “due to potential imminent danger of a child,” the affidavit says. Authorities have not alleged Blakesley sexually abused children himself.

A Camas Police Department officer called Blakesley on Thursday and arranged for him to come to the police department. Blakesley arrived that same day and was placed under arrest, according to the affidavit.

Blakesley confirmed that the two email addresses associated with the imagery were his, and he “knew what this was about,” the affidavit says.

He told investigators someone emailed him the child sex abuse images, but he never shared them, according to the affidavit.

Following the interview, officers seized Blakesley’s cellphone. Forensic analysis of the device is pending, but child sex abuse imagery was found when officers searched through it, according to the affidavit. Some of the images on the phone were reportedly the same ones provided through the cyber tips.

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