N. Las Vegas Police Chief Admitted Covering Up for Mayor in Child Porn Investigation

NLVPD Chief Joseph Chronister
Former Chief Joseph Chronister

In North Las Vegas, the outgoing police chief, Joseph Chronister, admitted in May that NLV Mayor John Lee received special treatment and that special treatment was based on his position and his ability to affect “certain aspects” of the NLVPD. This special treatment took place during an investigation, which began after the mayor asked police officers working at city hall for assistance in removing child porn from his iPad.

Mayor Lee claimed that the child porn was on his tablet because “a hacker” sent it to him in an email. However, during the investigation no such email was found and the browser history showed that the iPad had been used to access illegal porn sites that included what appeared to be child porn.

In addition, a week prior to approaching the officer about the iPad, the mayor made what was described as an odd request for help with “debugging a phone” in a voicemail to the Chief. As a result, some have speculated that the hacker sending an email story was just an excuse concocted to hide the true source, possibly amid fear that the incriminating material would eventually be found.

In a statement to the Las Vegas Review Journal shortly after his retirement, Former Chief Chronister stated that the detective assigned to the investigation did an incomplete investigation, didn’t follow up on inconsistent evidence uncovered during that investigation, and later took the mayor’s iPad to an Apple Store to have its memory wiped, before returning it to the mayor.

Via the LVRJ:

North Las Vegas police got the case after the mayor asked the department for help removing what he believed to be child pornography from his personal iPad. A detective helped out but didn’t check any of the mayor’s other electronic devices or press Lee on why his story didn’t make sense in light of evidence found, a police report filed last year shows.

Asked if anyone else would have been treated the same way, the chief said the short answer is no.

“We’re talking about the mayor of North Las Vegas,” Chronister said. “He is a person of authority. He is a person of power. He absolutely has the ability to control certain aspects of our department.”

That includes who the chief of police is.

NLV Mayor John Lee
North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee (right)

The “investigation” lasted all of one day, apparently included no questions about the lack of that email or the presence of the porn sites in Mayor Lee’s browser history, didn’t include any attempt to investigate if other devices under his control also contained such material, and concluded with Detective Mark Hoyt “going above and beyond” to make sure any incriminating evidence was thoroughly wiped out of the iPad’s memory at the Apple Store.

Hoyt’s excuse for not doing a complete investigation was that the apparent children on the porn site were from a different country and therefore he couldn’t determine their age. Chronister, who was in fact later replaced as NLV police chief by Mayor Lee anyway, now says he wishes his department had done more.

Meanwhile, Joseph Dooley, a retired FBI agent who previously ran Connecticut’s computer crimes task force, agrees they should have done more. Among other things, he states (in the same article) that the country where the porn sites originated from should not have kept them from conducting an investigation into what appears to be kiddie porn, that the iPad should have been seized immediately, and that the email story “couldn’t have happened as the mayor described.”

Dooley also classifies Det. Hoyt’s trip to the Apple Store to have the memory wiped as “bizarre.” Instead, they should have consulted the District Attorney‘s Office to determine if there was probable cause to seize other devices and investigate if they contained similar material.

Las Vegas area police departments have been no stranger to sex based crimes lately, including two members of the LVMPD being arrested for child porn. Beyond that, another Metro detective was just given a light sentence after he attacked a prostitute when she tried to raise the price on him, yet another has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman during a domestic violence call, a Clark County Court Marshall groped a woman in court and then had her arrested for reporting it to a judge, and the former head of the Las Vegas Constable’s Office was caught covering up one of his underling’s illegal use of the department’s background check system to find personal information about his favorite adult film stars.

When you have police chiefs openly admitting that they gave special treatment to city officials and that that special treatment was predicated on the fact that “He is a person of authority. He is a person of power. He absolutely has the ability to control certain aspects of our department” that’s the kind of results you end up with. Especially when you pair that with a district attorney who’s literally never seen a police shooting he couldn’t justify. The fact that Former Chief Chronister could come out with an admission like that and not even really cause much of stir actually tells you a lot about “accountability” among the police and public officials in Las Vegas.

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Kelly W. Patterson

a lifelong resident of Las Vegas, who's been very active in local grassroots activism, as well as on a national level during his extensive travels. He's also the founder/main contributor of Nevada CopBlock, Editor/contributor at CopBlock.org and designed the Official CopBlock Press Passes. ____________________________________________________________________________ If you appreciate Kelly's contributions to CopBlock, consider donating to the CopBlock Network and/or visiting the CopBlock Store. ____________________________________________________________________________ Connect with Kelly at these social networks; Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.