Jun. 11—An investigation of a Virginia man accused of child-exploitation offenses led authorities to a Port Clinton woman who is also accused of sharing explicit photos online of an infant girl, according to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Toledo.
Ashley N. Kolhoff, whose age was undisclosed, is charged with production of child pornography for sharing explicit photos of an infant on an unidentified website, the criminal complaint states.
During an initial hearing Thursday, Ms. Kolhoff waived an identity hearing, but defense lawyer Marty Mohler requested additional time to determine whether to waive a preliminary hearing or have such a hearing held either in Toledo or in the Eastern District of Virginia. The defense was given until Monday to state its intentions, and Ms. Kolhoff was ordered detained.
Federal agents began their investigation in Virginia and later linked Ms. Kolhoff to the case.
On Dec. 17, agents with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Fauquier County Sheriff's Office in Warrenton, Va., executed a search warrant at the residence of a man identified only as John Doe, according to the criminal complaint against Ms. Kolhoff. The man was under investigation based on multiple tips from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
Homeland Security agents seized items believed to be related to the operation of a website promoting child sexual exploitation and the production and distribution of child pornography, according to the complaint. Investigators found backups of the website itself with images and message boards, as well as images of minors engaged in sexually explicit activity.
The John Doe male is believed to be the unidentified website's administrator, investigators said.
While reviewing the website's content, investigators identified a particular user as Ms. Kolhoff, and she allegedly joined the website Sept. 11.
Ms. Kolhoff posted a forum thread with the title, "My baby is beautiful," and asked if any other users wanted photos, the complaint shows.
The website administrator replied to Ms. Kolhoff's forum thread, and she subsequently sent five media files including explicit photos of the infant girl, according to the allegations.
Data pulled from the photo linked to Ms. Kolhoff's Port Clinton residence. In at least one of the photos of the baby, an adult hand with prominent freckles can be seen, the complaint states.
Ms. Kolhoff, the father of the child, and the infant suspected to be in the photos were home Tuesday when federal agents executed a search warrant at the Port Clinton residence. The freckles on Ms. Kolhoff's hand were consistent with the hand in the explicit photos, according to investigators.
Ms. Kolhoff's relation to the child was not directly identified in the criminal complaint. While speaking with federal investigators, she denied producing child pornography. She was arrested and booked in the Lucas County jail Tuesday.
First Published June 10, 2021, 1:28pm