A solar observatory in New Mexico mysteriously closed for 10 days prompting speculation that there might have been some sort of threat, even extraterrestrial, but evidence reveals that a janitor allegedly downloading child pornography was the real culprit.
Court documents show the site was shut down after a July FBI investigation traced a number of IP addresses related to child porn to the observatory, The Washington Post reported Thursday. The site’s chief observer also told authorities on Aug. 21 that he found a laptop with “not good” contents in a number of vacant offices.
The discovery comes after the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) abruptly closed New Mexico’s Sunspot Solar Observatory on Sept. 6 without a public explanation. All those who worked at the observatory and those who lived on site were evacuated. The site’s post office closed as well.
“The FBI were up there. What their purpose was nobody will say,” Sheriff Benny House told the Alamogordo Daily News. “There was a Blackhawk helicopter, a bunch of people around antennas and work crews on towers but nobody would tell us anything.”
Ten days after the site closed, AURA released a Sunday statement explaining that it had evacuated the site because of a “security issue.” (RELATED: Solar Industry Dealt Another Blow In The Courtroom)
After authorities determined the janitor was the only person on site at the time of the downloads, he became “frantic” and suggested that an internet thief was entering at night to access the site’s wireless service.
AURA evacuated the site after the janitor alleged that “there was a serial killer in the area, and that he was fearful that the killer might enter the facility and execute someone,” WaPo reported.
The case is still under investigation, and no charges have been filed against the janitor, according to Reuters.
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