Friday, October 17, 2008

Stanley Swartz Appel - Pervs on sexually assaulted children while wife whines about the disruption to their lives

"I think this is horrible," she said of her husband being accused.
"This is going to destroy so many lives."
.............Shirley Appel

A Maggie Valley man accused of possessing and trading images of child pornography remains in jail under $ 250,000 bond and faces nearly two dozen charges resulting from a wide-spanning investigation that has netted 16 arrests throughout the United States and one in Italy.

Detectives executed a search warrant at the home of 69-year-old Stanley Swartz Appel, late Wednesday afternoon and seized one laptop, three desktop computers and 34 floppy discs. The discs contained numerous images of children aged 5- to 15 years engaging in sexual activity, Det. Archie Shuler, Maggie Valley Police Department said. None of the victims appear to be local children.

Appel, also known as Appelbaum, was charged that evening with 15 counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor based on allegations he traded the pornographic images using an online peer-to-peer file sharing site, That site has since been shut down.

For being found in possession of the images, Appel also faces eight counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.

There is no evidence to suggest that Appel was producing the photos, only possessing and trading them, Shuler said.

"I personally feel he just got caught up in the Internet and it led to bad things for him," said Shuler.

Appel's wife, Shirley, said she knew nothing about her husband's alleged involvement with child pornography and maintains he is innocent.

"Of course, he is innocent," she said, later adding "I am in the dark myself. I knew nothing except this is a man who has never committed a crime in his life. I can't fathom him doing anything like this."

Shuler's investigation into Appel's involvement stems from a case that originated in Montgomery County, Penn. To date, 16 individuals have been arrested throughout the United States and one in Italy on similar charges resulting from the investigation.

While investigating the Internet activity of a Montgomery County man, Brian Keith Benner, who was later convicted of crimes related to child porn, the Internet Crimes Against Children task force learned that some images on Benner's computer came from an IP address which they traced to Appel's computer.

Shuler said he was contacted by Det. Mary Anders, with the Montgomery County district attorney's office, two to three weeks ago alerting him of that discovery.

Benner's conviction led authorities to other e-mail addresses relating to individuals who were trading child porn with him, Shuler said. They collected a list of all IP addresses and Internet accounts (believed to have been involved) and started approaching law enforcement officers in those jurisdictions.

Based on that information, Shuler obtained a warrant to search Appel's home, which is within view of the Maggie police department.

Shirley Appel said Thursday she was shocked and stunned to learn of the allegations against her husband, which she believes are unfounded.

" I think this is horrible," she said of her husband being accused. "This is going to destroy so many lives."

The charges against Appel, who works for a local electrical supply company, relate to images contained on the floppy discs which Shuler seized from his home.

Three computers were also seized, which have been sent to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for forensic examination. Based on those findings, additional charges may be forthcoming, Shuler said.

Det. Ryan Singleton, Waynesville Police Department, who has worked numerous child porn cases in the past is assisting Shuler with the investigation.

In Shuler's three years working as a detective for the Maggie department, "this is the first child porn case I've worked," he said. "Hopefully it will send a message out."

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