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Wyoming Man Was Sex-Trafficked Several Times As Boy By Family To Pay Debts; Sadly, Not Unusual

in News/Crime

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By Jen Kocher, Cowboy State Daily

There’s a myth that human trafficking victims are snatched from parking lots or off the streets by nefarious figures in dark vans with tinted windows. 

In reality, that myth couldn’t be further from the truth, something Wyoming resident Charlie knows all too well.

Charlie, who chose only to be identified by his first name and to keep his location in Wyoming confidential for the sake of protecting his identity, was just a boy when his parents began trafficking him.

The situation isn’t unusual. According to a 2020 study by Polaris, a national nonprofit organization, 42% of human trafficking victims were trafficked by family members or caregivers, while another 39% were trafficked by an intimate partner or spouse.

Charlie’s abuse began before he was trafficked, when he was assaulted by his paternal grandfather as a boy.

When he brought it up to his father, he accused Charlie of lying and told him to never bring it up again. His mother also dissuaded Charlie from reporting the abuse to authorities.

“I remember distinctly what she said,” Charlie told Cowboy State Daily. “She told me that these things sometimes just happen, so I needed to get over it and not make a big deal.”

By that point, Charlie was confused, but took his parents’ comments to heart. 

From there, it got worse.

Motorcycle Gang

After his parents divorced, Charlie’s mom married a man in a motorcycle gang. Both his mother and stepfather took drugs, and at some point, got in financial trouble with the gang. To pay off their debts, his mother offered up Charlie, then 8 years old.

He remembers making three separate trips to the motorcycle gang’s clubhouse so six or seven of the gang’s members could have their way with the young boy in a back room. After three visits, the debt was paid off.

Both his mother and step-father were in the room when the abuse occurred.

Not long after, Charlie’s mom and new father once again got into trouble with the gang, but this time, it was severe enough to force them to move to Las Vegas. Once there, his mom and stepfather split up, so Charlie was on his own with his mom and younger brother, who he believes was never abused. 

Meanwhile, his mom still had a bad drug addiction. To get her fix, she would routinely go to Fremont Street on the Las Vegas Strip to find a dealer, offering up Charlie as payment. He was also trafficked to pay their mortgage.

By then Charlie was 13 and his mother would have to pin his arms down to make him submit to the abuse. 

Running Away From Home

Finally, by 16, Charlie had had enough. 

“I knew I needed to leave home,” he said, “because I was going to end up locked up in an insane asylum or worse.” 

At that time, Charlie was in a relationship with an older woman who allowed him to move in with her. From there, he never looked back.

At some point, his mom kicked drugs and turned her life around, eventually becoming an over-the-road trucker. His brother still lives with her and watches her pets when she’s on the road.

Charlie occasionally takes his mom’s phone calls, though to date, she’s never brought up the abuse or offered any apologies.

Moving Forward

Today, at 26, Charlie is happily married with his own business.

Since running away from home, Charlie has had his own share of trouble, including an accident in the military that led to several serious medical issues. 

He was also sexually assaulted by a fellow soldier, which was his tipping point, in his words, as all the repressed memories of his childhood came to an ugly head. He was struggling until someone recommended the excellent services of a VA hospital in Wyoming, so he moved to take advantage of those resources. 

It worked.

He credits both the hospital and his wife for saving his life, though the scars remain. 

“It’s been hard to gain back a sense of safety and trust or power over my life once that occurred,” he said.

As part of his ongoing recovery, Charlie is volunteers with two different nonprofit organizations to help runaways and those struggling with mental health issues.

He is also working to raise awareness about human trafficking, leading him to share his story for the first time. 

You’re Not Alone

The lesson he would like other victims to take from his struggle is that they’re not alone and it’s never too late to get help.

In the meantime, he continues his journey to heal. At this point, he said he’s gone from victim to survivor and would like to eventually become “a thriver.”

“I want to tell other survivors to have fun and enjoy their lives but to be careful,” he said. “This doesn’t define you, and there are resources to help.”

Sheridan Non-Profit Leading Charge

Stories like Charlie’s are well known to Terri Markham, a co-founder and co-director of Uprising Wyoming who has been on the forefront of educating professionals and the public about the dangers of human trafficking. 

Since starting the nonprofit nearly three years ago, Markham has led the charge in shedding light on the danger of human trafficking in the state.

Markham’s organization has been busy training law enforcement officers and front-line professionals about human trafficking, even staging actual sting operations such as one in Sweetwater County that led to the arrest of a former legislator on charges of solicitation.

Markham also spends a lot of time with young people educating them about trafficking and the dangers lurking online. 

Part of her efforts have been aimed at educating people about the fact that trafficking occurs everywhere, including in Wyoming. 

First Human Trafficking Conference

Terri Markham

In May, her agency will be hosting the state’s first-ever human trafficking conference in Sheridan. The Greater Rockies Immersive Training on Exploitation and Trafficking (GRIT) conference will bring together law enforcement, members of the justice system, victim advocates, service providers and healthcare and residential care workers for an immersive, hands-on conference in which they’ll participate in mock real-life scenarios.

A conference of this magnitude was a dream come true for Markham. She was approached by the Hughes Charitable Foundation, which had heard about her work, with an offer of support for a statewide conference.

“At first, I thought I was being punked,” Markham said, laughing. “This is not usually how it works. Typically, there’s a long application process for a grant, but they came to us. It was phenomenal.”

The funding from the foundation has allowed her to host the three-day conference and book six top voices in the field.

Speakers will include Joseph Scaramucci from Texas, who has worked both state and federal investigations as a task force officer with Homeland Security and who has also led multiple training sessions with law enforcement throughout Wyoming. Other speakers include members of law enforcement, academia, the legal community and multiple trafficking survivors. 

The conference will include two days of presentations and discussions followed by a third day in which small groups will conduct mock trafficking operations to practice what they’ve learned.

Increasingly, Markham is working to bring various groups, such as law enforcement, health care, victims advocates and those working in residential services, together form inter-agency partnerships to help combat trafficking.

The conference will be the first of several annual conferences to come, Markham said.

Other sponsors for the event include the Wyoming Attorney General’s Division of Victims Services. 

The conference takes place May 2 – 4 in Sheridan. For more information or to sign up, see Uprising Wyoming or contact Markham at (307) 655-7511.  

Gordon Opposes Halt On Superintendent Pick, Says He’s Upholding The Law

in News/Mark Gordon/Education

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Gov. Mark Gordon is asking a federal court to allow him to follow Wyoming law and proceed with the appointment of a new superintendent of public instruction.

Gordon, in a court brief filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court, asked Judge Scott Skavdahl to deny a request for a temporary restraining order that would prevent him from appointing a new superintendent to finish out the term of Jillian Balow in accordance with state law.

“As the duly elected governor of the state of Wyoming, Gov. Gordon has taken an oath to uphold the laws of the state …” the brief said. “Thus, Gov. Gordon’s interest in this matter is to comply with Wyoming law and fulfill his duties as the governor.”

Balow resigned earlier this month to take a similar job in Virginia.

Under state law, Gordon is to appoint a replacement by midnight Thursday from a list of nominees provided by the central committee of the Wyoming Republican Party.

The party’s central committee on Saturday selected three nominees from a field of 12 applicants.

However, the selection process is being challenged by a bipartisan group of Wyoming residents in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court on Tuesday.

The lawsuit alleges that the selection process used by the central committee violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. and Wyoming constitutions.

According to the lawsuit, because the central committee is made up of three representatives of each county, when making decisions such as selecting nominees for the superintendent’s job, counties with smaller populations have a disproportionately large influence on the outcome.

The process violates the concept of “one man, one vote,” according to the lawsuit.

The request for a temporary restraining order aimed at blocking Gordon from acting on the vacancy was filed at the same as the lawsuit.

Skavdahl was expected to rule on the request by noon Thursday.

Gordon, in his brief opposing the order, noted that the lawsuit challenges the way the GOP selects nominees, not the way he selects replacements for statewide office.

“Even so, the governor does have an interest in being able to exercise his required duties under Wyoming statute as well as in seeing a vacancy in an executive branch office filled expeditiously,” the filing said.

The nominee selection process within the party does not violate the “one man, one vote” rule as alleged in the lawsuit, the brief said.

“This statutory process did not deprive Wyoming voters of fair and effective representation, regardless of the procedure the committee followed to select the nominees,” it said.

A temporary restraining order is often issued when it is likely that a lawsuit will be successful. Gordon’s brief, however, said it is unlikely the plaintiffs will succeed, so the restraining order should not be issued.

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Homeless Man Stabs Another At Hotel In Casper Wednesday

in News/Crime

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A homeless man was arrested Wednesday evening after a dispute over whether he was following another man’s girlfriend resulted in a stabbing.

According to department officials, Casper police officers went to a hotel in Casper in response to a report of a stabbing. There, they were told an adult male had been stabbed multiple times outside of the hotel by an unknown person who fled the scene.

The victim was taken to the Wyoming Medical Center, where emergency surgery was conducted. The man remained in critical condition Thursday morning.

Within two hours of the assault taking place, officers located and arrested the suspect, Woodrow Neal, 55, a homeless man with no apparent ties to the Casper area.

Neal was charged with one count of aggravated assault and battery, a felony, and possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor.

The victim and Neal did not know each other, investigators said, and the assault appeared to have been the result of a confrontation between the two men that began when the victim accused Neal of following his girlfriend.

“This case highlights the tireless dedication of the men and women who wear the Casper Police Department badge,” said Deputy Chief of Police Shane Chaney. “Had it not been for the quick thinking, investigative training, and sheer determination of these officers to get a violent offender off the street, this suspect may not have been located. Our citizens should be proud of the level of professionalism displayed here to not only find the suspect but bring justice to the victim in this case.”

The case remains under active investigation by the Casper Police Department. Further information will be released as it becomes available.

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Torrington Man Pleads Guilty To Possessing 102 Files Of Child Porn

in News/Crime

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Torrington man has pleaded guilty possession of child pornography, admitting to possessing more than 100 pornographic files featuring children.

Andrew Bryan Culligan, 35, pleaded guilty during a change of plea hearing on Jan. 18. Sentencing has been set for April 8 and he faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $22,000.

Culligan was arrested on Aug. 4 in Casper after being indicted by a federal grand jury on child pornography charges.

According to court documents, federal investigators received multiple cybertips from Google regarding an account that contained 102 files of child pornography on the company’s Google Drive and Google Photos system. Many of the files showed prepubescent girls engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Investigators traced the IP address of the computer where the files were uploaded to a Torrington address. Google also provided information about one of the email addresses registered to the Google Drive/Photos account, which was tracked to Culligan.

During the investigation, it was discovered that Culligan is a registered sex offender who was convicted in 2013 of third-degree sexual abuse of a minor.

In April, a search of the home Culligan’s home was conducted and investigators interviewed Culligan’s girlfriend. She confirmed to police that Culligan did use one of the email accounts reported through the cybertips and that he was “protective” of the account.

Culligan was contacted while the search warrant was being executed, and while he confirmed one of the email accounts reported was his, he asked for a lawyer. Investigators then terminated the interview.

Based on his admission, Culligan was arrested on a state charge of child sexual exploitation and transported to the Goshen County Detention Center. He was formally charged in early April, but posted bond two days later.

Also according to the affidavit filed in U.S. District Court, in May, Culligan’s girlfriend took her 14-year-old daughter to the local emergency room to be examined for assault after finding a letter from Culligan to the girl.

In the letter, Culligan made sexual remarks to the girl and expressed a desire to impregnate her. The girl disclosed “multiple” incidents between Culligan and herself.

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Most Cheyenne Hospital COVID Patients Are Vaccinated; Harrist Says Vaccine Is Still Effective

in News/Coronavirus

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Most of the people being treated for coronavirus in one of Wyoming’s largest hospital this week have been vaccinated against the illness.

But Dr. Alexa Harrist, the state’s public health officer, said it would be a mistake to judge the effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccine from data collected over so short a period of time.

“It’s most important to look at data trends over time, especially from large national data, large studies that are really designed to look at this question of vaccine effectiveness in preventing severe illness and death,” she told Cowboy State Daily.

This week, Cheyenne Regional Medical Center reported 16 patients of the 26 hospitalized for treatment of coronavirus were fully vaccinated. Seven were not vaccinated at all, while three patients were either partially vaccinated or their vaccination status was unknown.

But Harrist cautioned anyone looking at those numbers against making broad conclusions about the vaccine’s effectiveness.

“If you look at what CRMC put out for the weeks beforehand, those numbers looked a lot different,” Harrist told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday.

Other hospitals around the state are not reporting number similar to CRMC’s.

At Casper’s Wyoming Medical Center, Mandy Cepeda, the hospital’s director of marketing and public relations, said more than 80% of the hospital’s sickest coronavirus patients are unvaccinated.

“In general, we are seeing very similar demographics to what we saw in the surge last fall,” she said.

Karen Clarke, community relations director for Campbell County Health, said of the patients treated at the Gillette hospital in January for coronavirus, only 10.3% had been fully vaccinated.

Harrist said data reviewed by the Wyoming Department of Health officials indicates that while people who have been vaccinated against COVID can become infected, the vaccines are effective at preventing severe illness, especially among those who are fully vaccinated and have taken the booster shot.

Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID are being hospitalized a much lower rate than those who have not been vaccinated.

Harrist did say the state has seen more COVID infections than ever before in recent weeks, but added the data shows a smaller percentage of hospitalized coronavirus patients need extra care, such as time in the intensive care unit or help breathing from a ventilator.

“We are going to see hospitalizations and we are concerned about hospital capacity, but we may be less likely to see those severe outcomes,” she said. “We know we are much less likely to see those severe outcomes if people are up to date on their vaccinations.”

Department officials had expected a large increase in coronavirus cases with the arrival of the Omicron variant, Harrist said, however, data shows the Omicron variant tends to result in a shorter illness when compared to other variants.

The result is instability in COVID numbers such as the increase of 2,213 active cases seen the weekend of Jan. 14-18 and, just two weeks later, a single-day decline in active cases of more than 4,000.

Harrist added that symptoms among omicron patients vary, but people should still look for the typical COVID signs: fever, muscle aches, a loss of taste and smell and congestion. If a person is experiencing these symptoms, they are encouraged to get tested for COVID and talk with their health care provider.

Wendy Corr, Jennifer Kocher and Jim Angell contributed to this report.

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Eathorne Calls Plaintiffs In Superintendent Lawsuit “RINOs,” “Cheney Supporters”

in News/Education/politics

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming Republican Party Chairman Frank Eathorne lashed out Wednesday at the multiple plaintiffs who brought a lawsuit against the party over the way it selected nominees for an open statewide office, calling them “RINOs” and “Cheney supporters.”

Eathorne noted the lawsuit filed Tuesday took aim at the party for following state rules that have been in place for decades for picking nominees to fill open state offices.

“Grassroots Republicans are being sued, by Democrats and a handful of self-important RINOs and (U.S. Rep. Liz) Cheney supporters, for following the law and completing its role in sending 3 names to the Governor so he can fill the vacancy created when Jillian Balow resigned, the same way elected official vacancies have been filled for decades in our state,” Eathorne said.  

Balow resigned as superintendent of public instruction earlier this month to take a similar position in Virginia. Under Wyoming law, Gov. Mark Gordon is to select a replacement to finish her unexpired term — which runs until January 2023 — from a list of three nominees submitted by the Wyoming Republican Party’s central committee.

The lawsuit alleges that because the central committee is made up of three representatives from each county, counties with smaller populations have a greater influence over such decisions than counties with large populations, a violation of the equal protection clause of the Wyoming and U.S. constitutions.

Eathorne said on Wednesday that for the plaintiffs, the situation was not about the Constitution, but about control.

“If you ever wondered what Wyoming’s self-appointed good ol’ boys club looks like, this is it – former and current newspaper owners, Democrats, high-level university administrators, former legislators, wealthy elite, self-important Cheyenne lawyers, and all represented by Democrat (Former Gov. Dave) Freudenthal’s former Attorney General, Pat Crank,” he said.

He added that the plaintiffs had one thing in common: none of them were currently elected to serve Wyoming Republicans.

“They represent Wyoming’s past, full of smoky back rooms and political side deals,” Eathorne said. “They cannot stand that the Wyoming Republican grassroots has risen up and can outvote the lobbyists and lawyers who have controlled Wyoming politics in the past. These are the same people who support Liz Cheney, fight to preserve the ability for Democrats to crossover and interfere in Wyoming Republican primaries, vigorously oppose runoff elections, and seek to tear down and defeat Conservative principles.”

The party’s central committee selected three nominees for Gordon’s consideration from a field of 12 applicants during a meeting Saturday.

Gordon interviewed the three Tuesday and, by law, is to select a replacement for Balow by midnight Thursday. Gordon has been ordered by a federal judge not to make the selection before midnight Thursday to give the parties in the lawsuit a chance to comment on a request for a temporary restraining order that would block Gordon from picking any of the nominees.

Eathorne said the plaintiffs in the lawsuit view certain Republicans as “pawns on their chess board who are expendable in the service of their king.”

“The current leaders of the Wyoming Republican Party view grassroots Republicans much differently,” Eathorne said. “We view you as our friends and neighbors, the voters who elected precinct men and women all over the State, who have worked hard and tamed this western landscape we call home. We have held town halls to encourage the grassroots all over the State to let their voices be heard on issues important to their communities, about Liz Cheney’s treasonous behavior, and the overreaching COVID shutdown of Wyoming’s small business, churches, and gathering places.”

He added that the plaintiffs have argued an unelected bureaucrat should remain in Balow’s position instead of adhering to the process set forth in law to fill the vacancy. Eathorne pointed out that Kari Eakins, the interim superintendent, is a Democrat, which she has been registered as since 2010.

“At a time when Wyoming needs this Superintendent to stand up to Joe Biden’s radical agenda and defend Wyoming’s children, they want an unelected Democrat to fill that role rather than follow a statutory process that they have never complained about before,” Eathorne said.

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Federal Judge Tells Governor Not To Appoint New Superintendent

in News/Education

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

A federal judge on Wednesday ordered Gov. Mark Gordon not to appoint a new superintendent of public instruction until at least midnight Thursday.

Judge Scott Skavdahl ordered a brief halt to the process of appointing a new superintendent until he can hear arguments on a temporary restraining order that would block Gordon from naming a new superintendent from a list of three nominees he was given by the Wyoming Republican Party.

“Having conferred with counsel for the parties, and in order to allow and consider input from all defendants, it is hereby ordered that Governor Gordon shall not fill the vacant position of superintendent of public instruction with any candidate forwarded to him by the (Republican Party) …” the order said.

Skavdahl said a decision on the temporary restraining order will be issued before midnight Thursday, which is the deadline under state law for Gordon to appoint a new superintendent.

The order stems from a lawsuit filed Tuesday against the Wyoming Republican Party and its chairman Frank Eathorne by 16 individuals, including a number of former legislators, alleging that the system the party used to select nominees for the post is unconstitutional.

Former Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow resigned earlier this month to take a similar position in Virginia. Under Wyoming law, Gordon is to select a replacement to finish her unexpired term — which runs until January 2023 — from a list of three nominees submitted by the Wyoming Republican Party.

The party’s central committee, made up of three representatives from each county, selected three nominees for Gordon’s consideration from a field of 12 applicants during a meeting Saturday.

But the lawsuit, filed by former Wyoming Attorney General Pat Crank, said giving each county three representatives violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. and Wyoming constitutions because it gives counties with small populations more influence in such decisions than counties with large populations.

A request for a temporary restraining order filed with the lawsuit asked that Gordon be prevented from selecting a replacement for Balow from the list of nominees submitted by the party because the nominees were selected in an unconstitutional manner.

Skavdahl’s order prohibits Gordon from acting on the nominees, who he interviewed Tuesday, until the judge can issue a decision on the request for a temporary restraining order.

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1,247 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Wednesday; 1,597 Recoveries; 3,990 Active

in News/Coronavirus

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily. 

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case total increased by 32 on Wednesday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 1,597 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state reported 1,247 new laboratory-confirmed and 382 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 3,990 active cases for Wednesday.

Four counties had more than 300 active cases, eight had more than 200 and 13 had more than 100. 

Laramie County had 767 cases; Natrona 479; Campbell 360; Fremont 348; Sheridan 271;  Albany 243; Teton 229; Sweetwater 207; Uinta 146; Lincoln 128; Converse 127; Carbon 112; Goshen 100; Park 97; Johnson 62; Sublette and Weston 53; Washakie 46; Crook 43; Platte 40; Hot Springs 40; Big Horn had 31, while Niobrara reported 15.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, 2020, subtracting the number of recoveries during the same period among patients with both confirmed and probable cases and taking into account the number of deaths attributed to the illness.

The new confirmed and probable cases brought to 141,090 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 135,475 have recovered.

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Flu Cases Remain Low Compared to Prior Seasons in Wyoming

in News/Health care

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By Jennifer Kocher, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s influenza season appears to be off to a mild start, with cases up just slightly this year over last year but markedly lower than prior flu seasons.

According to the weekly influenza report from Wyoming Department of Health, the number of flu cases reported in the state fell from 200 during the first week in January to just over 100 at the last reporting on Jan. 14.

By comparision, during the same period in 2019, a little less than 600 influenza cases were reported. That year, case numbers spiked at more than 1,400 cases by the end of February. 

Flu season runs from October through May.

Influenza case numbers were not posted for the 2020-21 season, according to Kim Deti, public information officer for WDH, because the state did not experience significant flu activity last season. 

This year, WDH has reported seeing cases of both Influenza A and B virus circulating, with the dominant strand being Flu A (H3N2). Cases have been reported in 21 of Wyoming’s 23 counties.

Deti cautioned against putting too much stock in these numbers, however, given the fact that some medical providers do not consistently report influenza cases to WDH and few patients get tested for the illness.

“The numbers do not show a total picture. With flu, they never have,” she said, noting that comparing reported cases of influenza from season to season or week to week may not be valid given the many factors influencing both testing and reporting.

 However, it is certain that Wyoming is currently experiencing low levels of influenza activity this season compared to previous years, Deti said. 

Deti said that the decrease in flu activity last season in Wyoming mirrored a decline in flu cases seen nationally. Many experts attributed the decline in 2020-21 to COVID-19 related precautions such as traveling less, attending fewer public events and other public health precautions.  

 “For the 2019-20 flu season, activity was running at high levels until the pandemic began and people started taking the precautions we all remember,” she said in an email to Cowboy State Daily. “Then it dropped.”

WDH can’t predict what the rest of the flu season will look like, Deti added, because it’s relatively early in the season.  

Since the beginning of this year’s flu season, 22 Wyoming residents have died of pneumonia and influenza-related illnesses. 

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Casper Man Pleads Guilty To Making Child Porn With Daughter

in News/Crime

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Casper man pleaded guilty earlier this month to four counts of child pornography production after being accused of making child pornography with his toddler daughter.

Daniel Hendricks, 33, faces 15 to 120 years of imprisonment and five years to life of supervised release. He could also be ordered to pay a $5,000 special assessment pursuant to the Victims of Sex Trafficking Act of 2015 and a $100 special assessment fee. In addition, he could pay up to $50,000 in special assessments and mandatory restitution of not less than $3,000 per requesting victim pursuant to the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2018.

Hendricks was initially indicted last month on one count of possession of child pornography and four counts of production. He pleaded not guilty to the charges at the time.

According to a probable cause affidavit, in October, Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation agents received a tip regarding Hendricks, who was reported to Facebook for possessing and distributing child pornography. The files in question contained pornographic videos.

With the cybertip, the IP address involved in sending the child pornography was checked and was found to be in the Casper area.

One of the agents checked the Casper Law Enforcement Computer Aided Dispatch System and found a report that had been made in June by Hendricks’ wife, who told an officer at the time that her husband had made inappropriate online comments about a photo of a fully clothed girl.

Hendricks’ wife took screenshots of the comments her husband had made about the girl with another man on Facebook and said she believed Hendricks was engaging in pedophilia-type behavior and that he was a sick person for being attracted to children.

The officer told Hendricks’ wife at the time that while no law had been violated, her husband’s comments were gross and inappropriate and that he would keep the screenshots for evidence.

In October, Hendricks’ wife was interviewed by DCI agents, who confirmed she was separated from her husband. They have three children together, ranging in age from 14 months to nine years.

She told the agents that she had been previously sent a message on Facebook from an unknown person who told her that Hendricks was involved in a pedophile group online and engaged in conversations expressing a sexual interest in children.

While Hendricks’ wife had previously confronted him about this, he was apologetic, but added he was more interested in the “forbiddeness” of the conversations about children. She was also aware his Facebook account had been shut down on two separate occasions.

The same day in October, a search warrant was issued for Hendricks’ home in Casper. Upon arriving, Hendricks’ roommate answered the door, and Hendricks was in a locked bedroom.

After further announcements, he unlocked the door. Agents could see an AR-15 rifle in plain sight of his bedroom, so they placed Hendricks in handcuffs and took him to the DCI’s Casper office.

Hendricks admitted to viewing child pornography for about nine months to a year and although he said he was disgusted with himself, he continued due to depression, boredom in his sex life and his recent separation from his wife.

He said his preferred age of sexual interest was girls between 8 and 13. He admitted to receiving, sending and witnessing numerous files of child pornography, including one involving infants, on the Telegram messaging app.

However, Hendricks was adamant tha the never produced child pornography or sexually assaultedd any of his children or others.

Since one of the files Hendricks had sent on Facebook involved a toddler, agents questioned him about whether he had assaulted his own children and produced child pornography.

Hendricks ultimately admitted to producing child pornography with his youngest daughter, who was 14 months old at the time, during a diaper change, taking both photos and video of the abuse. Hendricks shared the files with an unknown person on Telegram in hopes for receiving similar files.

Hendricks also wrote a letter of apology to his wife, confessing to viewing and trading child pornography with others online and admitting to the abuse of their daughter. He apologized for his actions and said he wished he could take it back.

A search was also conducted of Hendricks’ cell phone, and more than 10 files of child pornography were found on it. The Telegram app was also found on his phone, and it contained numerous chats between Hendricks and other users exchanging child pornography.

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