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Stillwater mayor arrested on child pornography charges

Stillwater mayor arrested on child pornography charges

Troopers: No indication that crime occurred on village property
Stillwater mayor arrested on child pornography charges
Photographer: Provided photo

STILLWATER -- Village officials were mum Thursday, after Mayor Rick Nelson's arrest on charges that accuse him of downloading photographs depicting child pornography.

Nelson, 62, who has served as mayor of the village of about 1,700 residents since April 2015, faces one felony count each of promoting a sexual performance by a child and possessing a sexual performance by a child, troopers said.

A call to Village Hall was answered by a person who identified herself only as a member of the board of trustees and would not give her name. She said neither the village clerk nor any trustees would comment on the arrest. Calls to individual trustees were not returned. 

Stillwater Town Supervisor Ed Kinowski said the news came as a surprise. He would not comment further.

“I worked with him as the mayor, and from that aspect, fine, but this personal stuff? No, I don’t know him from that aspect of life,” he said.

The investigation began after state troopers in the Computer Crimes Unit learned that an IP address in Stillwater had been used to download child pornography.

A search warrant was obtained and subsequently executed Thursday morning at Nelson’s home, resulting in his being arrested, interviewed and processed at the Saratoga state police barracks, troopers said.

Trooper Mark Ciepel, a department spokesman, said the investigation was ongoing.

“I don’t know the amount (of images) we’re dealing with, but one count each for now,” he said. “It’s a computer, so it has to be looked at.”

Troopers said there was no indication that the activity resulting in Nelson’s arrest occurred on village property.

Nelson ousted 23-year mayoral incumbent Ernest Martin in an election in March of 2015.

Nelson worked in home repair and landscaping and also as a high school and college sports official, The Daily Gazette reported when he won the election by 62 votes. He campaigned on a platform of addressing abandoned buildings and poor roads.

Nelson was arraigned in Saratoga Town Court and was sent to the Saratoga County Jail on $25,000 cash bail or $50,000 bond. He is scheduled to return to Stillwater Town Court at 6 p.m. on Sept. 6, troopers said.

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