A well-known photographer who specializes in capturing images of children’s gymnastics events has been apprehended on child pornography allegations. David Eric Yellen, a 58-year-old resident of Royal Oak, Michigan, was arrested after law enforcement traced him using a file-sharing website. This disturbing incident raises concerns regarding the nature of his photography work.
In the previous month, an FBI agent was investigating a peer-to-peer file-sharing platform commonly utilized by individuals involved in child exploitation. During the investigation, the agent discovered a user who had downloaded 14 explicit files, including a minimum of two classified as child pornography according to federal law.
On May 23, the agent successfully traced the user’s IP address back to Yellen’s residence, identifying him as a freelance photographer known for documenting girls’ gymnastics events and receiving numerous accolades throughout his professional journey. Subsequently, on June 1, Yellen was arrested by the FBI and charged with possessing and distributing images depicting child abuse.
According to statements from agents, Yellen acknowledged possessing child pornography images, claiming that he had downloaded them a decade ago. However, he denies downloading or sharing any such images through the specific site where he was apprehended, although he admits to regularly using the platform. Yellen also denied creating any pornography himself but admitted to taking pictures of girls’ bare feet during gymnastics competitions for personal gratification.
As per the criminal complaint, which was unveiled on June 2, it was revealed that Yellen had a minimum of 1,500 images of children stored on his devices, including the ones initially traced by the investigating agent through the file-sharing site. Out of these, at least 500 images meet the criteria for child pornography. Additionally, one of his hard drives contained a folder labeled BFK, which Yellen confessed represented “barefoot kids.”
Yellen asserted that he was unaware that other individuals could download the images from him. However, the agent responsible for filing the criminal complaint remains unconvinced, stating, “I do not believe that he was unaware that he had his files in a location that allowed for sharing with others.”