In the document police submitted to justify a search of a Danville man's home in March, investigators say a video found on the former Cub Scout leader's work computer showed a man having sex with what appears to be a prepubescent girl.
The suspect, Michael Vawter, 40, was arrested March 17 on suspicion of downloading as many as 187 child pornography videos. The former insurance broker for CCI Financial in San Ramon used his work laptop to store some of the images and videos, according to search warrants filed the day of his arrest.
One video was downloaded from peer-to-peer file-sharing software called Limewire. It depicted a girl clad in a white tank top and underwear laying on a bed while a masked man used a sex toy on her, police said, using more explicit language in court filings.
"The video was labeled 'pc hc pedo,' which I recognized from my training and experience to refer to pre-teen hardcore pedophilia," San Ramon police Det. Sharlene Dinkins writes in the warrant request. "I also know that Limewire is a software application that is commonly used to trade child pornography in a peer-to-peer environment between users."
In requesting a search warrant for Vawter's Danville home, Dinkins wrote that based on how child pornography collectors behave she had reason to believe that the suspect stored many more files in his house.
"Those who maintain images of child pornography are collectors and tend to keep the images for extended periods of time, eventually amassing substantial portfolios," she wrote.
An anonymous tipster on March 15 first alerted a San Jose-based cyber crime hotline about Vawter, saying he stored at least 75 pornographic videos and images depicting children, according to court documents. The following day, Dinkins called Vawter's boss, identified only as Bowman in court papers, to tell her about the tip.
No search warrant was issued for Vawter's workplace because his supervisors freely cooperated with investigators. The only warrant on record is one served at his two-story Danville home on Grassland Court.
Vawter's superior searched his laptop on March 16 and "found inappropriate videos on it in violation of their company policy," according to the search warrant.
The supervisor, after a conference call with a San Ramon detective and a company lawyer, took Vawter's work laptop while he was on lunch that day, police say. A thumb drive labeled with black ink as "my personal removable drive" was attached to it, according to the supervisor, who "considered it work-related since it was attached to the computer."
The search warrant says police took from Vawter's home a Sony DVD camcorder, two Maxwell DVDs, a Nikon Coolpix camera, a JVC camcorder, three thumb drives, a CD labeled "S. Vawter," more than 50 CDs, a Dell computer, Lenovo laptop, green planner and yellow notepad as evidence.
Repeated calls to Vawter's private attorney, Danville-based William E. Gagen, were not returned Wednesday.
Vawter appeared in court last week, when he asked a judge to postpone his arraignment. He remains free of his own recognizance after posting $20,000 in bail. A prosecutor has yet to be assigned to the case.
Vawter is scheduled for arraignment at 8:30 a.m. on June 17 at Walnut Creek Superior Court. He plans to enter a not guilty plea, say court records.