The owner of a Tri-City photography business is charged with molesting a young girl and keeping a stash of pictures in his desk of her when she was a baby.
Documents filed in the case against Sean Michael Challe show the Richland police investigation is in the early stages.
A search of Challe's home office allegedly turned up several prints of boys and girls naked in bathrooms and negatives of children in states of undress.
Detectives confiscated cameras, a desktop computer, a safe, CDs, memory cards, almost a dozen hard drives and other computer devices from his Kennewick home, according to search warrants.
The evidence logs, filed in the past few days, reveal that detectives also seized a laptop, cellphone and tablet from his mother's Richland home, where Challe went to spend the night after the alleged sexual assault came to light.
Detectives want to analyze the devices for any evidence of child pornography or children engaged in sexually explicit behavior, documents said.
Challe, 29, pleaded innocent in Benton County Superior Court to first-degree child molestation and voyeurism.
Challe faces a Nov. 17 trial. He's being held in the Benton County jail on $500,000 bail.
Challe has hired attorney Norma Rodriguez of Kennewick. Dennis Hanson, who was standing in for Rodriguez at Challe's court appearance this week, said they wanted to wait for a later hearing to argue for a reduced bail amount.
Challe and his girlfriend reportedly went to the Richland home of another couple Sept. 20. The group had been drinking on a patio for a couple of hours when Challe went inside.
About 10 minutes later, the homeowner went to make sure his young daughter was sleeping and he found Challe leaning over her bed, court documents said. The girl's pajamas had been pulled down and the covers removed, though she was still asleep, documents said.
When asked what he was doing, Challe replied, "I don't know who I am or what I am," and "I don't know why you are not kicking my (expletive) right now," court documents said.
Challe then allegedly told the mother he was a horrible person and had screwed up. The couple ordered him to leave and called police.
The girl was taken to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland to be examined, documents show.
Challe went home with his girlfriend, then packed two duffle bags with clothes and personal items, including a laptop and cellphone, and went to his mother's home, court documents said.
He told police he had no idea why they wanted to talk to him "because he had been very drunk earlier in the night," court documents said.
Challe was taken to the Richland Police Department, where he asked to speak to an attorney before making a statement.
Richland police Detective Athena Clark, who applied for the search warrants, said officers found several photos inside an envelope in Challe's top desk drawer. "I found it odd that these photos were together and of the same female," she wrote.
The young girl's parents later identified their daughter in the pictures, saying she was a baby at the time.
Another desk drawer held envelopes with the photos of naked kids, ages of 1 month to 2 years, and the negatives with kids in the same age range either wearing a few items of clothing or naked, search warrants said. Also in the drawer behind hanging file folders were sex toys, the warrants said.
Through her investigation, Clark found that Challe has a private photography business, Sean Challe Photography.
State Department of Revenue records show Challe registered his company in November 2012.
Judge Cameron Mitchell has ordered Challe to have no contact with the young girl while the case is pending.
-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 509-582-1531; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @KristinMKraemer