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Bryan man accused of possessing child porn

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Federal officials are asking area parents to contact the FBI if their children are acquainted with Mr. Walls.

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At least a dozen Williams County girls may have been victimized by a Bryan man who's facing a federal charge for possessing child pornography, authorities said yesterday.

Dale Allen Walls, a 37-year-old unemployed warehouse distribution worker and father of two girls ages 9 and 11, was arrested Thursday afternoon in Bryan.

When he agreed to talk to federal agents, they said, he estimated that his collection of child pornography consisted of 10,000 images and 100 videos.

Time stamps on many of the images are from September, 2003, to August, 2006.

During a news conference, federal agents urged northwest Ohio families to ask their children if they know Mr. Walls and, if they do, to contact the FBI.

"Sometimes in law enforcement investigations, it becomes necessary to reach out to the general public for assistance in resolving our investigation," Frank Figliuzzi, head of the FBI's Cleveland office, said.

"As in the case in this matter, it's to reach out and fully identify the most vulnerable victims in our society - our young children."

The images indicate that Mr. Walls targeted little girls, but the oldest victims may now be in middle school. So far, only six families of the 12 girls believed to have been victimized by Mr. Walls have been interviewed by authorities, Mr. Figliuzzi said.

Under the name "Awall24," Mr. Walls was trading illicit photos of girls under 15 years old engaged in sex acts with someone in Florida on the photo exchange service Google Hello, according to court documents.

Soon after the Florida resident was caught in October, federal authorities subpoenaed Google and ComNet to identify the computer IP addresses. Two of those were connected to Mr. Walls.

He told authorities he first looked at child pornography in 1995, but blames his depression after a 2001 divorce for his escalating interest.

Mr. Walls, who was charged with one count of possessing child pornography, made an initial appearance yesterday in U.S. District Court in Toledo. Magistrate Vernelis Armstrong ordered him to be held without bond in the Lucas County jail.

A probable-cause hearing was scheduled for next Friday.

If the ongoing investigation shows that Mr. Walls created the pornographic images himself, he could face additional charges that could lead to 15 years or up to life in prison, Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Weldon said.

Mr. Walls' attorney, Stephen Chamberlain, declined to comment on the federal charge. Citing security concerns, he asked the magistrate to have his client moved to a facility other than the county jail.

Contact Bridget Tharp at: btharp@theblade.com or 419-724-6061.

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