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Anchorage child pornographer faces charges under new state plea deal policy

Jerzy Shedlock
An Anchorage man arrested on charges of child sex abuse and the possession, distribution and production of child porn could face 13 felony counts under stricter sentencing rules that went into effect earlier this year.
istockphoto

An Anchorage man arrested on charges of child sex abuse and the possession, distribution and production of child porn could face 13 felony counts under stricter sentencing rules that went into effect earlier this year.

Forty-four-year-old Kevin Dale Callander -- a husband and father of five children now grown and on their own -- did not appear for a scheduled arraignment on Thursday. The man will remain in the Anchorage jail without bail until his next hearing, which is scheduled for late December.

A public defender, Philip Shanahan, was officially appointed to Callander on Friday.

The December hearing will move the case one step closer to trial – a grand jury needs to decide whether or not it supports all of the state’s charges against Callander. However, prosecutors can no longer offer agreed-upon sentences as part of a plea deal due to a Department of Law policy change. The state can still offer Callander to plead to lesser charges, but it’s up to the judge and the judge alone how much time he may spend behind bars.

The new rule forbidding prosecutors from cutting sentencing deals with defendants applies to violent offenders, such as murderers, rapists and child abusers. In early November, another child porn case involving a former Anchorage church deacon was one of the last trials in which a sentencing plea deal was struck. The defendant was sentenced to five years for his crimes.

But unlike the deal-cutting deacon, Callander faces over a dozen charges, including the production of child porn. Charges say the man sexually abused underage girls and filmed them.

Anchorage Police Department Detective Mark Thomas led the investigation. Thomas works in the police department’s Cyber Crime Unit as one of only two detectives dedicated to investigating Internet crimes against children.

On three occasions from June to September, Thomas tracked a computer source located in Anchorage that contained at least 64 files which caught his attention. The files included four videos with underage girls, ranging from as young as 3 to 16 years old, the charges say.

Police followed the source to Callander’s Jewel Lake-area home. On October 29, a search warrant was served on the residence. Callander was home at the time, and he initially waived his Miranda rights but decided he needed a lawyer present when the questions kept coming.

According to an affidavit, at the end of Callander’s interview, the detective told the man the search was for child porn. Callander “made a loud gulping noise that could be heard on tape.”

Two computers were seized from the home. They each had separate names -- one for Callander and one for his wife. The latter yielded nothing suspect while Callander’s computer contained child pornography and software for downloading and sharing those materials. His computer also contained several videos showing himself and female victims around the home, the charges say. According to the detective’s account, Callander laughs at a girl’s distress in one of the videos.

The detectives reviewed more than 1,300 video files on the computer. As of November 20, they had found 55 videos of children being sexually abused. The charges say they expected to find more.

Anchorage police have contacted several local children in the videos but suspect there may be more from Alaska and Florida. Anyone with information regarding Callander is urged to contact the Anchorage Police Department at 907-786-8500.

Contact Jerzy Shedlock at jerzy(at)alaskadispatch.com. Follow him on Twitter @jerzyms.