AZ man accused of stockpiling child porn worked as church mentor

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Roger James Forney Roger James Forney

A Glendale man, accused of stockpiling child porn, might've had close contact with children through his volunteer work.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office confirmed to CBS 5 that 48-year-old Roger James Forney was involved in a mentoring program at Calvary Community Church.

Associate Pastor Dan Holgate issued the following statement Thursday afternoon:

"We are aware of Mr. Forney's involvement with a church community program, and we are shocked and concerned about the situation. He was not on staff, nor was he ever employed by the church. All our volunteers must pass an extensive background check through an independent agency, and his report came back clean. We are in contact with the investigating authorities to assist in any way we can."

CBS 5 News spoke with one of Forney's neighbors Thursday who said she spoke with him often and actually felt safe with the former military police officer and security guard living upstairs.

"Having so many kids, sometimes I'd get bad feelings about people and I'd keep my kids away from them," said a Forney neighbor who asked that her name not be revealed. "But, I never felt that way with him."

Knowing now that Forney admitted to detectives he's sexually attracted to young boys, she said one encounter with him stands out.

She said Forney told her he was a mentor to a little boy.

"A couple of times, he said he had to leave because he had to pick up the boy, and he was really close with him," the neighbor said.

She said Forney never told her which organization he volunteered with.

Sgt. Brandon Jones with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office told CBS 5 News that detectives contacted the 9-year-old boy.

"We did talk to that little boy, and that little boy did not indicate the Mr. Forney did anything to him," Jones said.

Forney was booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail on Tuesday on 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor after hundreds of pornographic images of underage boys were found in a Glendale apartment complex dumpster on Oct. 21 - about a mile from his own apartment near Ocotillo and Dysart.

The living conditions in his apartment were so grotesque, investigators said they were forced to wear gas masks because the smell of ammonia and animal feces was so strong.

During his interrogation, Forney said he suffered from depression and PTSD. 

The stash of images containing graphic sexual images of mostly young boys was found by a woman who was going through the trash and called police.

In a call to 911 she stated, "I was Dumpster diving. I'm still at that location. There's a bag in here with child pornography. There's little boys on here naked. There's drawings, weird drawings, people getting hung and stuff like that."

The printed and sketched images were found along with a broken laptop and flash drives from which authorities extracted thousands of similar images.

The inappropriate material was tossed along with personal documents belonging to Forney, including resumes and military records, which identified him as their suspect.

"There were images of kids tied to chairs, tied to each other, kids tying each other up to things and performing sexual acts; acts that I'm not going to get into," Jones said. "Just disgusting, disgusting images."

On Thursday, deputies said Forney downloaded most of the images from a website based in Russia - leading them to believe most of the children in the pornographic pictures are not American.

Deputies interviewed Forney after conducting a search warrant at his Glendale home Tuesday.

He eventually confessed to attempting to get rid of the illegal materials after an FBI warning locked his computer.

"Turns out, the FBI didn't log his IP address," Jones said. "It's one of those virus ploys they (hackers) put out there. One of those fake things popped up and it kind of caused him to turn himself in for this crime, in a roundabout way."

Forney admitted to deputies that he was sexually attracted to young boys, but denied ever having physical contact with one.

He stated he was happy to be caught after all these years so that he can get help for his "evil."

Deputies said they have not yet identified any victims, but the investigation is ongoing.

Forney is a retired Army National Guard member and has worked as a security guard at the Arizona State Mental Hospital for the past three years.

Forney's pretrial conference is set for Friday, Jan. 25, and his trial is in March.

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