Former Colorado Fire Chief Arrested On Child Porn Charges

A former division fire chief in Larimer County faces charges related to child porn following his arrest Monday.

Ron Uthmann, 58, who now resides in Mesa County, was taken into custody without incident by Grand Junction authorities after an arrest warrant was issued in Larimer County.

The former division chief of the Poudre Fire Authority was booked on two counts of sexual exploitation of children, a Class 3 felony, and one count of sexual exploitation of children, a Class 1 misdemeanor. A felony is charged when an individual, among other things, distributes child pornography. The misdemeanor is charged when the material is possessed.

Uthmann posted $25,000 bond and was released a few hours after his arrest. He had resigned from his position in February after the investigation began.

"It was a pretty devasting, pretty shocking to the department when this occurred," said Poudre Fire Authority Chief John Mulligan.

The Larimer County Sheriff's Office was prompted on information from informants who believed they had seen pornographic images on computers assigned to Uthmann while he was employed as division chief of the Poudre Fire Authority.

During the investigation Uthmann's computers were seized and a forensic analysis was conducted over the last few months, according to a statement from the Larimer County Sheriff's Office and the PFA.

"It is believed that Uthmann received and exchanged images containing child pornography with other persons whose identities are not yet known. It is further believed that Uthmann was not involved in the creation of these images but has received and exchanged these images via the Internet," the statement said.

"There were a few images that were forwarded. I wouldn't characterize this as a wholesale, mass distribution of material," said Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden.

Alderden said the person who allegedly saw the images on Uthmann's computers was afraid to come forward to authorities so she first talked to her minister.

"I wouldn't want to characterize what caused this person to come forward. Obviously, it was something that caused concern for that individual, knowing that this was occurring. I think she sought some counseling or some absolution from her minister, who then brought it to us," Alderden said.

Mulligan said he's known Uthmann for many years and worked with him on many fires and disasters, including the Big Thompson Flood. He can't believe what happened.

"I think we are a proud organization, I think we care about our people. We care about the standards that we have. And I think from our perspective, and I'm not going to prejudge anything, but we are feeling, I think, some violation of trust," Mulligan said.

The Fort Collins Coloradoan reported Tuesday that Uthmann joined Fort Collins Fire in 1969, before the creation of Poudre Fire Authority.

Uthmann is due in court in early June.

Copyright 2006 by TheDenverChannel.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Loading