PORT ANGELES — The former administrator of a defunct Facebook group that targeted alleged criminals pleaded not guilty Tuesday to criminal charges including posting sexual photos online of two people without their permission.
Adam Chamberlin, 43, of Port Angeles also pleaded not guilty to possession of an illegal firearm, a sawed-off shotgun; possession of stolen property, a cellphone; and first-degree computer trespass.
During a three-minute hearing Tuesday, Clallam County Superior Court Judge Brian Coughenour set a status hearing for Nov. 15 and a trial date of Jan. 9 for Chamberlin, who has been released on his own recognizance.
Port Angeles lawyer Karen Unger, representing Chamberlin, estimated the trial will last four days.
Police Sgt. Jason Viada said authorities may have the FBI or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigate Chamberlin over alleged possession of an illegal sawed-off shotgun they said was found at Chamberlin’s home that was not manufactured in Washington.
“The FBI would have the authority to prosecute that under federal statutes if they so choose,” Viada said.
Viada said police also are investigating how Chamberlin came into possession of what an Oct. 13 police report on his arrest referred to as “several” cellphones that were found when police searched Chamberlin’s house in the 600 block of South Francis Street.
“The cellphone and electronic messaging portion of this case is active and ongoing,” Viada said Tuesday.
Viada said Chamberlin can legally possess the 16 handguns and rifles that were found mostly in the bedroom of his home, and an SKS firearm that Viada described as “an old, cheap version of an AK-47.”
In a comment Chamberlin posted to a GoFundMe page in September 2015, he described his “Clallam County Criminal Watch 2” Facebook group as “a resource to enable concerned citizens to identify active criminals and drug dealers on the peninsula by sight and name.”
Images blurred out
Authorities’ investigation of Chamberlin began Oct. 12 after a woman told police that the page contained three pictures of her sister and a man, including a depiction of the two engaged in a sex act with the woman’s breasts and the man’s genitals blurred out.
Posts on the page include Chamberlin referring to the photos in explicit terms, according to the arrest report.
The woman depicted in the photos told police they came from her cellphone, which she said she had lost in July.
She said Chamberlin did not have permission to be in possession of her cellphone or share her photos.
When Officer Whitney Fairbanks interviewed Chamberlin on Oct. 13, a day after police began investigating him, he said he had shut down “Clallam County Criminal Watch 2” the day before “because there had been too much drama associated with it,” according to her arrest report.
He told police he had heard he was going to be arrested.
“Chamberlin said he was receiving several messages a day of people accusing him of crimes and harassment,” Fairbanks said in her report.
Chamberlin told Fairbanks he saw the photos of the couple in a bag of memory cards he had received several months ago in his mailbox, which he said was not unusual.
He told police he edited the photos with white squares, that he never had the woman’s cellphone “and that he wasn’t a thief.”
He told Fairbanks he “knows” the couple are criminals.
When asked why he posted the photos, “he stated he wanted to speak to an attorney,” according to the report.
One of the cellphones that police found at Chamberlin’s home was labeled with the couple’s names and was identified by the woman as her cellphone, according to Fairbanks’ report.
Other cellphones also were labeled with names, according to her report.
The woman depicted in the photo, interviewed by police while being incarcerated at the Clallam County jail, said she knew Chamberlin through his Facebook group “and that he has been harassing her and [her boyfriend] for the last year,” posting their addresses, phone numbers and emails on the Facebook page.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].