LAS VEGAS (AP) — Police decided Tuesday to ask the FBI to take over a mothballed investigation of how North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee obtained images on his computer that he told a newspaper he suspected showed child pornography.
The city’s new police chief, Alexander Perez, opted to seek federal help after reviewing how detectives handled Lee’s request last October to clear images from his iPad, police Officer Aaron Patty said.
Lee didn’t immediately respond to telephone and email messages from The Associated Press. He was elected mayor of the state’s fourth-largest city in 2013.
FBI Las Vegas spokeswoman Bridget Pappas said she had no immediate information about a request for bureau involvement.
The developments came after the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Friday that a detective found browser links on Lee’s computer to at least one website displaying possible child pornography originating from a foreign country.
The newspaper said the Oct. 20 investigation ended after one day because the detective couldn’t immediately verify the age or identify the location of the children. Lee’s other computer devices weren’t examined.
The news report came a day after Joseph Chronister retired as police chief and Perez, his former assistant chief, was promoted.
Lee told the Review-Journal the images began popping up on his computer after someone sent him an email, and he contacted police because he was worried they showed children being harmed.
Patty said Tuesday that federal involvement prevents the police department from releasing its investigative report in response to a freedom of information request from AP.
Chronister, who retired as North Las Vegas police chief after more than 25 years in the department, told the newspaper he wished he had taken the findings of the police investigation to the Clark County district attorney and that the probe had been more complete.
Attempts by AP to reach Chronister weren’t immediately successful.
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