MARIETTA - Naval investigators searched a Fearing Township home Thursday afternoon and seized a computer believed to contain child pornography belonging to a local Marine.
Aaron C. Masa, 23, of 1310 Stanleyville Road is the subject of a criminal investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), according to Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks, whose officers helped execute a search warrant Thursday at the home near Whipple belonging to Masa's parents.
"There was some disclosure by somebody that he inappropriately touched a 5-year-old and also a 7-month-old child," said Mincks.
Photo by Jasmine Rogers
An investigator with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, left, and a Naval Criminal Investigative Services official confer as they execute a search warrant Thursday afternoon at the Fearing Township home of a local Marine accused of child molestation at his North Carolina military base.
Aaron C. Masa
The misconduct allegedly happened either on or in the vicinity of Masa's military base in North Carolina.
Masa had reportedly been spending leave time in Washington County until this week when the investigation advanced and Masa was recalled to duty, said Mincks.
He was interviewed Wednesday by NCIS investigators and allegedly admitted he had child pornography on his cell phone and on his computer in Fearing Township, officials said. Pornography was found on the cell phone and a computer was confiscated Thursday evening from the local home, said Mincks.
In addition to NCIS investigators, agents from the Washington County Sheriff's Office and Federal Bureau of Investigation helped execute the search at the Whipple address - a white two-story frame house with horses, ducks and cats in the yard.
According to records from the Washington County Auditor's website, the home belongs to Scott and Rachel Masa.
Agents on scene identified themselves as working for the FBI and NCIS. They declined to comment, referring questions to a public affairs officer for NCIS.
NCIS public affairs officer Ed Buice responded in an email Thursday saying he was unfamiliar with the case, but added that NCIS does not discuss the details of ongoing investigations.
Masa has had prior brushes with the law. As a juvenile at the Washington County Career Center, he reportedly threatened to bring a gun to school and shoot three students, said Mincks. The incident was reduced to a single disorderly conduct charge.
Masa also has an adult conviction for disorderly conduct in 2010, according to Marietta Municipal Court records.
Masa is in custody at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. He will likely face federal charges on all crimes, including any pornography found on his Whipple computer, said Mincks. The federal charges will carry stiffer penalties than would comparable charges filed under the state revised code, he added.