Ted Sheppard, an artist from the early days of furry fandom, was arrested last December, suspected of uploading child pornography.
In November last year, following a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, that someone in the Tucson (Arizona) area was uploading child pornography, the Tucson Police Department's Internet Crimes Against Children Unit started an investigation. This lead to a search warrant being served on Sheppard's address in Tucson, on Wednesday, December 11. The 46-year-old Sheppard was arrested, and booked into the Pima County Jail for ten counts of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor.
Furry artist Mitch Beiro has been sentenced to ten years in prison and lifetime probation, after pleading guilty to two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor under fifteen. The charges relate to his arrest in October 2012, following a police investigation into the sharing of child sexual abuse images via peer-to-peer Internet networks.
Old-school furry artist Mitch Beiro has been arrested after police found that files depicting the sexual exploitation of minors had been shared online from his home.
Beiro, 47, worked as a guard for a security company in Tucson, Arizona. In the furry fandom, Beiro's artwork has been published in Huzzah, Wild, and several other publications. A frequent attendee of furry conventions, he was a guest of honor at ConFurence 11 (2000), and married Minerva Mink at a joke wedding during ConFurence 12.
Tucson detectives started an investigation on Beiro in December 2011, as part of a wider investigation into the online sharing of child sexual abuse images via peer-to-peer internet networks.
The police served a search warrant on his home on October 3, and found "various computer related items, which contained thousands of files depicting the sexual exploitation of minors". He is being charged with 15 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.
During the investigation, detectives also found that he was part of an unreported child molestation case in California.
Update (19 Feb): Mitch has been sentenced to prison and probation
As one of the millions of long-term unemployed in this country, [I can't] pay for significant advertising out of pocket. […] Nor have the flyers been moving in any significant numbers. […] There has even been active hostility against the idea of having an Arizona furry convention from other Arizona-based furries. In furry-frequented places where our flyers have been provided, they have subsequently been trashed, and artwork has been posted indicating hostility towards myself.
We were supposed to have an active website up by the end of February […] I was told by one of our core convention staff that they had a qualified volunteer for the website […] March rolled past without any sign of such a website or even any confirmation of who exactly was supposedly working on it. […] Weeks would pass […] We currently have exactly two pre-registrations, and NO hotel room block reservations.
I do not see a future for an Arizona convention which does not have a stronger and more active commitment towards building attendance, or which has a chairman, like myself, unable to provide for its needs. […] ZonieCon is simply not to be.
It's true! ZonieCon will be returning for at least one more go, from September 30–October 2.
The Hotel Tucson (part of the 'Innsuites Boutique' line), secured for the weekend, is newly-remodeled with excellent services at surprisingly low rates — a King or Double Queen for just $69/night, including airport shuttle service, Wi-Fi and hot breakfast with Belgian waffles! The hotel shuttle can take you to the Tucson Mall or local restaurants at no extra charge.
The con served almost 200 attendees last year, but fell into debt after several setbacks, including a chandelier accident.
To make matters worse, the US Olympic figure skating tryouts were held in Spokane this year, disrupting hotel bookings.
Current plans are for a one-day event on 15 May, including an art show, after which attendees can participate in the Spokane Lilac Festival Torchlight Parade before returning to the hotel for a party. A full weekend event is expected for 2011.
Ok, this isn't exactly an official announcement, but more a plea for help. The short form is that we'll be starting a mini-con April 2005 with the exact days to be determined in the future, but we need some help and advice.
1) What events should we offer, keeping in mind that this is a first year and small con?
2) What do you expect to see at a con(artists alley, art show, dealer room, lounge, etc)?
3) Where should we hold it(ie hotel event space or the likely cheaper VFW Hall or similar)?
Aside from that, any advice, suggestions, volunteering and ideas are welcome and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org(if it bounces, wait twelve hours and resend, since I just set it up).