© 2024 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Franklin County Sheriff Deputy Charged With Child Pornography

Franklin County Sheriff's cruiser
Raymond Wambsgans
Franklin County Sheriff's cruiser

A Franklin County Sheriff's Deputy has been arrested on child pornography charges, according to a federal complaint released Wednesday.

An affidavit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio accuses Deputy Daniel P. Heintz of soliciting and receiving "tens of thousands of images" of children, including ones as young as toddlers, being sexually abused or in sexually explicit activities.

The FBI arrested Heintz at the Franklin County Jail, where he works, and executed a search warrant at his Columbus home on February 11. Authorities seized his iPhone, iPad and laptop, and began reviewing their contents earlier this week.

"Your affiant identified several hundred thumbnail images, some of which appeared to be from videos that had at one time been present or viewed on the phone, which depicted prepubescent males an females, some as young as toddler age, engaged in nudity, oral sex, anal sex, masturbation, and other sexual activity with other children and adults," reads the affidavit from FBI officer Brett Peachy.

The investigation into Heintz began in August 2020 after the FBI arrested a suspect in Illinois for attempting enticement of a minor. After FBI agents took over the Illinois man's messaging account on Kik, a social media app, they uncovered correspondence between him and Heintz, under the username "hooah99." In those conversations, Heintz – who is the father of several children – sent multiple photos of several young females to the Illinois man.

"An affidavit details that Heintz allegedly discussed sexually abusing a minor to whom he had access," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a press release. "It is alleged he discussed photographing the minor in the victim’s sleep and also talked about sexual conduct he would commit as well as sexual abuse the Illinois man could commit to the minor victim."

Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin said in a statement that he only learned today of Heintz's arrest.

"That’s why I directed my staff to immediately begin the process of terminating this person’s employment," Baldwin wrote. "Two weeks ago, when I first learned of the investigation, I immediately put this person on administrative leave. While everyone arrested is presumed innocent, someone charged with a felony loses the privilege of working for the people of Franklin County."

Heintz faces charges of advertising for and receiving child pornography – both of which are federal crimes carrying possible sentences of 15-30 years in prison, and 5-20 years in prison respectively. If convicted, Heintz would face up to a lifetime of supervised release and required registration as a sex offender.

In October, a Columbus Police officer was arrested on child pornography charges and placed on administrative leave.

Gabe Rosenberg joined WOSU in October 2016. As digital news editor, Gabe reports breaking news and edits all content for the WOSU website, as well as manages the station's social media accounts.