A Kadlec registered nurse has been suspended without pay while facing charges he possessed hundreds of images of child pornography.
Detectives are still investigating whether Darrin L. Ruddell took the explicit photographs himself.
Ruddell, 47, of West Richland, has pleaded innocent to six counts of first-degree possessing depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, along with one count of possessing a controlled substance.
His Benton County Superior Court trial is scheduled June 6.
Ruddell has been out of custody since posting $150,000 bail on Feb. 26.
However, Deputy Prosecutor Megan Whitmire plans to ask a judge March 30 to return his bail to the original $250,000 because of new information in the case. She also anticipates filing amended charges.
Detectives searched Ruddell’s home on Feb. 23 and found several “peek-a-boo” cameras with memory cards. They also found loaded syringes, a bottle of ketamine and a bottle of lorazepam. Detectives say both sedatives are known to be used as “date rape” drugs.
The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force contacted the Benton County Sheriff’s Office last November about 1,480 child porn images that had been downloaded to a Verizon Wireless account.
The national network helps law enforcement and prosecutors investigate people who use the internet, online communication systems or computer technology to sexually exploit children.
The images in this case were later determined to belong to Ruddell, court documents said.
Detectives searched Ruddell’s home on Feb. 23 and found several “peek-a-boo” cameras with memory cards, court documents said. They seized all of his electronic devices, including computers and old and current cellphones.
They also found loaded syringes, a bottle of ketamine and a bottle of lorazepam, court documents said. Detectives say both sedatives are known to be used as “date rape” drugs.
The recovered images show children posed while nude, involved in sex acts with other kids, and being molested or raped by adult men and women, documents said.
A number of pictures from Ruddell’s phone were taken last April, documents said.
Ruddell has been ordered by the court not to own, possess or use any cellphone or computer, and to have no contact with minors while the case is pending.
He has been licensed as a registered nurse since 1999, according to the Washington Department of Health website. It shows his license is active.
Jim Hall, a Kadlec Regional Medical Center spokesman, told the Herald that Ruddell was suspended from his job after the allegations surfaced. Hall did not give more details about Ruddell’s job.