A federal employee has been arrested on a criminal complaint accusing him of secretly filming his minor foster children while they were nude in a bathroom and bedroom of the family’s Rancho Cordova home.
Eric Worrell, who is charged with attempted sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of child pornography, wrote a letter to his wife and the two children Thursday while agents waited to take him to jail.
The letter begins: “I’ve always been sick, since I was a young child, its always bothered me and been kept (a) secret,” according to the affidavit of a Department of Homeland Security agent filed Friday in federal court.
The affidavit says Worrell, 56, admitted to the agents that he used child pornography for sexual gratification and told them, “Yeah, I’m a pedophile, but I would not harm my kids.”
Agents executed search warrants Thursday at Worrell’s home and his work space in the offices of the U.S. Department of Transportation on the fourth floor at 650 Capitol Mall. The paperwork on the search warrants was filed Monday and unsealed Friday.
During the search of the home, agents found a “spy type camera designed to go unnoticed while recording,” the affidavit says. The affidavit describes two recordings found on the camera.
Worrell, a tall, solidly built man with a full head of graying hair, appeared Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dale A. Drozd, who explained his rights and the charges. The judge told Worrell that, if convicted of the exploitation charge, he would face a mandatory minimum 15 years in prison and a maximum of 30 years.
Drozd ordered him held without bail as a danger to the community. Worrell is due back in court April 3 for a preliminary examination.
Worrell’s undoing started when he dropped a thumb drive in the hallway outside his office in the federal building. It was found and turned over to Homeland Security investigators. They discovered the device contained approximately 552 images of child pornography and child erotica, according to affidavits filed in support of the search warrant applications.
Worrell told an agent Thursday that he thought he had thrown the thumb drive away.
Analysis matched the thumb drive to Worrell’s government laptop computer. Forensic examination of the computer yielded more child pornography.
“Please don’t believe I would have harmed you intentionally,” Worrell wrote Thursday in the letter to his wife and the two children. “I may lose you now for lying to social services and for stuff I did on web. I’m so sorry.”
Call The Bee’s Denny Walsh, (916) 321-1189.