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Thursday Wyoming Briefs

Online tip leads to child porn bust

RIVERTON (WNE) — A social media account containing child pornography images could land a Riverton man in prison for 22 years.

Michael Duane Woodward, 26, has been under Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation scrutiny since social media website “Tumblr” drew its attention to possible child pornography content on one of its users’ accounts.

“Specifically,” court documents state, “the report indicated that Tumblr personnel discovered that the account of Tumblr user ‘amituteporn’ contained 13 images believed to be child pornography.”

Tumblr personnel discovered the images around July 8 and provided additional information to authorities, including an IP audit of the account. DCI took the investigation from there.

Further investigation of the Tumblr account, now linked to Woodward, revealed 14 images of prepubescent, female subjects; DCI categorized 13 of the images as “pornographic.”

On Nov. 7, DCI agents and the Riverton Police Department executed a search warrant which Riverton Circuit Court Judge Wesley Roberts granted, enabling them to search Woodward and his residence.

When shown a photo of the preteen girls, Woodward “recognized the image immediately” and admitted to possessing child pornography, and to sharing child pornography with another Tumblr user. He also explained that he had first discovered the images on another Tumblr member’s blog page, documents state.

Charged with two counts of sexual exploitation of children, Woodward now faces two felony-level allegations.


Following GPS, truck driver gets stuck in Beartooths

POWELL (WNE) — First responders from multiple agencies had to rescue a semi-truck driver last week, after he and a passenger got stuck while trying to drive up the Beartooth Highway (U.S. 212).

Wintry conditions closed most of the highway a couple months ago and a sign warns truckers not to try navigating the mountainous route in good conditions. However, the driver — who was not identified by authorities — attempted to take U.S. 212 because “his GPS gave him that route,” the Wyoming Highway Patrol said in a Monday Facebook post.

The tractor-trailer wound up getting stuck about 5 miles east of the Beartooth Highway’s junction with Wyo. Highway 296 (the Chief Joseph Highway) on the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 27.

The patrol, personnel from Park County Search and Rescue and a loader and plow truck from Yellowstone National Park were all dispatched to the scene around 11:28 a.m.

There was initial concern that search and rescue members would need to snowmobile in to the site, but a trooper was able to reach the truck with his all-wheel-drive Dodge Charger and the heavy equipment followed.

“At [6:43 p.m.], the tractor-trailer, which was ironically carrying snowmobiles, was freed and en route to Cody,” the patrol recounted in its post.

The agency went on to say that motorists need to be prepared for changing weather conditions and mountain driving — and to look beyond their GPS for navigation.


UW to offer online accounting degree

SHERIDAN (WNE) — At the start of the Fall 2020 semester, the University of Wyoming College of Business will offer a fully online Bachelor of Science in Accounting to help meet high demand for the profession and preserving flexibility for students across the state. A number of the courses will be available online in the Spring 2019 semester.

“Our purpose as a university is to meet the educational needs of the state, and it has become clear over the years that students want this program, and we are here to deliver,” College of Business Relations Representative Taylor True said in an email.

The online version of the degree program will be entirely self-paced. True said it was important to allow flexibility for students to complete the program on whatever timeline best suits their needs. Sheridan College Director of business education Doug Cherry said he considers accounting amenable to online and part-time study but emphasized the difficulty of the courses, even in person.

He cited a difficult 300-level course with a fail rate over 50% that serves in effect to decide who will and will not become an accountant, and said he believes the difficulty will be magnified online.

“From a state demand perspective, they are so overdue,” Cherry said. “We have a huge economic demand for it. In reality, the University is a decade behind. They should’ve been doing this 10 years ago.”

The courses will make use of a variety of projects, assignments, examinations and discussion boards.

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