Aurora sergeant busted for child porn was accused of possessing child porn 10 years earlier

Aurora cop accused of child porn before arrest

AURORA, Colo. - A decade before an Aurora police sergeant was arrested for possessing child pornography, the sergeant's former girlfriend warned police that she found apparent child pornography in his apartment, CALL7 Investigators learned.

But Aurora police investigators apparently did little to confirm the allegation until after former Sgt. Morgan Sellman's arrest by Colorado Springs police in 2010, records show.

The documents say Aurora investigators interviewed the girlfriend, Brenda Gammie, but internal affairs never interviewed Sellman. The records say the investigation "went nowhere."

Metropolitan State University Criminology Professor Joseph G. Sandoval, who is a former police lieutenant, said the documents raised serious questions about whether Aurora police investigators did a thorough investigation into the complaint against Sellman before his arrests.

"It doesn't seem like a good way to run a police department, especially when a police department has to be above reproach," he told CALL7 Investigator Keli Rabon after reviewing the records at our request.

Gammie told CALL7 Investigators that she was staying at Sellman’s apartment in 1999 or 2000 and was looking for something to sleep in when she found a pornographic magazine and sex toy in his closet. The "Barely Legal" magazine had additional photographs of very young children who were naked stuck between the pages of the magazine, Gammie said.

"Stacks and stacks of kiddie porn inside the magazine, additional pictures of naked kids, all the way down to toddlers," Gammie told Rabon of what she found a decade before Sellman's arrest.

Shocked, Gammie said she went to Aurora Police Internal Affairs, but she felt like they just looked at her like a scorned girlfriend and did not take her allegations seriously.  

After Sellman's arrest, police investigators re-interviewed Gammie and several women that she told about what she found. One woman said images she saw looked like a child playing in water with no clothes and was not pornographic.

Gammie said the other woman, who also dated Sellman, told her Sellman always wanted to have the woman’s 7-year-old daughter sleep with them. The woman told investigators in 2010 that she remembers sharing a bed with her daughter and Sellman once. She did not believe there was inappropriate touching as Sellman was never alone with the little girl, the reports say.

After Sellman's arrest, a deputy chief recalled an investigation into Sellman but he said investigators found no wrong-doing. The records were destroyed three years later, documents show.

Sandoval said police should have gone further in the 1999/2000 investigation.

"It was very superficial," Sandoval said. "It was almost as if investigators just went and talked to whoever made the complaint and confirmed what that person told someone else and that was all. It was dropped."

After Gammie's complaint, Sellman was trained as a DARE officer, working with children for at least a year before being transferred in 2001. When he was arrested, Sellman was a DARE coordinator but he did not work directly with children in that job.

Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates refused repeated requests for interviews but issued a video news release addressing some of the allegations.

"The pornography in Sellman's possession was legal adult pornography," Oates said.

But the records say Gammie never provided the materials she found in Sellman's apartment so it's unclear how Oates would know what type of photos Sellman had and at least one witness said Sellman had pictures of young children. 

During Sellman's prosecution, Gammie's decade-old complaint was taken seriously enough that she was placed on the prosecution witness list for Sellman's trial and flown in from the West Coast. Sellman pleaded guilty to one count of sexually exploiting a child and received 90 days in jail and probation.

Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan initially told CALL7 Investigators that either Oates or the city manager should sit down with 7News for an interview, and Hogan said he would if they did not.

"I'd be happy to sit down and talk to you about it, but I do think we start with the city manager and the police chief because they are the people on a daily basis," Hogan said.

"Just on a bare minimum and being someone who was elected by the citizens do you think that the police chief and or the city manager should sit down to talk about these issues?" Rabon asked. 

"I would assume they should," Hogan said. "And I would assume that if they won't there's probably a reason for it, and as I indicated we'll find out. 

After Oates released his video, Hogan backed out of doing an interview, saying he would answer written questions.

Sandoval said the information CALL7 Investigators uncovered shows a systematic problem within Aurora Police when it comes to investigating their own officers.

"It has to do with the integrity of all police officers and all police officers should be concerned about that," he said.

Oates contends there is not a problem with his internal affairs department.

"We will continue to take allegations regarding any officer misconduct seriously," Oates said in the YouTube video.

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If you have a news tip, or follow-up to this story, e-mail Keli Rabon. You can also connect with her on Facebook or through Twitter @KeliRabon.