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Police source: Suspended Allegan fire chief admitted to child porn charges

Posted at 1:57 PM, Nov 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-01 17:50:50-04

ALLEGAN COUNTY, Mich. — Allegan Fire District Chief Matt Gillies, who was suspended from his position pending the outcome of an ongoing criminal investigation involving child porn allegations, admitted to the charges against him, a Michigan State Police source close to the investigation confirms.

Gillies was arraigned on five charges Tuesday including second degree criminal sexual conduct, manufacturing child sexually abusive material, possessing child sexually abusive material and two count of using a computer to commit a crime.

According to a Michigan State Police trooper who swore in the probable cause statement in court, investigators were notified about multiple Flickr photo accounts they believed Gillies created under multiple names. The accounts had sexually abusive material on them that were traced back to IP addresses on computers in both Gillies’ home and the fire station, the trooper said.

The account also included videos that appeared to be created by Gillies, with one showing a man performing a sexual act while a 4-year-old girl slept nearby, according to the probable cause statement. Videos found through a separate IP address showed a man performing the same sexual act, but over images of child porn, the trooper said, and investigators believe it was the same individual.

A police source close to the investigation confirmed to FOX 17 that Gillies admitted to investigators to creating the accounts, uploading the pictures and creating the videos. Gillies turned himself in to authorities Tuesday morning.

Investigators carried out a search warrant of the fire department two weeks ago that involved the seizure of computer equipment. Gillies was immediately suspended without pay.

Activity on Twitter allegedly involving Gillies was flagged by the social media company which then relayed information to law enforcement at the federal level before local authorities were alerted, the source said. Investigators then traced the IP address to a computer inside the fire department, according to the source.

The investigation comes roughly one month after Gillies was promoted to fire chief. Pictures from his promotion ceremony were posted to the Allegan Fire District’s Facebook page but have since been removed. Gillies was promoted September 7th and has been with the department since 2008.