Alleged Child Pornographer Worked At Area Scout Camp

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A 47-year-old man who had worked at a Payson Boy Scout camp for more than two months was arrested Aug. 7 by the FBI on a California warrant involving child pornography.

Wesley Elvis Peden, 47, was living in Cottonwood at the time of this arrest and has been extradited back to California. The Cottonwood Police Department assisted the FBI with Peden's arrest.

Deborah McCarley, a special agent for the FBI out of the Phoenix office, said she is not sure which Boy Scout camp employed Peden, but said she does know he was working at a camp in Payson since May.

McCarley said the FBI is concerned that there may be other victims because of Peden's past and where he was working.

"We need to put that out in case there were other victims," she said. If there are victims, the FBI or Cottonwood Police Department need to be notified.

McCarley said she is sure the campers came from everywhere, including Phoenix, and added that victims can contact their local police agency if they wish.

She said the FBI is erring on the side of caution right now, as there may not be any victims.

McCarley said Peden is being charged with visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and possession of one or more items having depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Peden, if convicted, faces a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of 20 years with a $250,000 fine on both counts.

The FBI Phoenix office can be reached at (602) 279-5511 and the Cottonwood Police Department can be reached at (928)634-4246.

-- To reach Michael Maresh call 474-5251 ext. 112 or e-mail mmaresh@payson.com.

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