Clinton police: Drone-using man's assault on officers charge led - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Clinton police: Drone-using man's assault on officers charge led to child porn arrest

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Sgt. Jeremiah Dunn discusses the new information that led to the arrest of Austin Haughwout. (WFSB photo) Sgt. Jeremiah Dunn discusses the new information that led to the arrest of Austin Haughwout. (WFSB photo)
CLINTON, CT (WFSB) -

A man known for controversial drone videos was nabbed on child porn charges this week after police said he assaulted officers last summer.

Austin Haughwout, 19, was arrested this week following a lengthy investigation.

During a news conference on Thursday morning, Sgt. Jeremiah Dunn of the Clinton Police Department said the investigation began last July.

"Mr. Haughwout was arrested on an unrelated warrant," he said. "During the course of the arrest on July 22 of last year, Mr. Haughwout engaged the officers who were taking him into custody."

Dunn said the altercation took place in the lobby of their police department.

"There were some accusations of some excessive force," he said. "Mr. Haughwout claimed he was assaulted versus the officers who were assaulted."

As a result, Dunn said Haughwout was found to be in possession of a cell phone, which was recording at the time.

"Investigators seized that phone in July and applied for a search and seizure warrant to get evidence of the incident that took place in our lobby," he continued. "During the course of the [cell phone's] examination, images of children in an obscene performance were found on his phone as well as conversations Mr. Haughwout allegedly initiated with some juvenile children where he allegedly asked them to meet at a location and specified a sexual act."

Dunn said the investigation took all winter and into the spring.

"The investigation into the phone takes time," he explained. "It's done by forensic scientists at the state police lab."

He said the scientists looking into the altercation alerted Clinton investigators to something well in excess of what they originally wanted.

Dunn said he didn't know how long Haughwout had been gathering the images or contacting the minors. He said that was still under investigation.

"We just know that the mere possession of the images constitutes a crime under child pornography laws in the state of Connecticut," he said.

Police said they identified one person in the images; however, no other details were released.

"It appears he was attempting to have a relationship that we don't believe occurred," Dunn said.

Dunn said to investigators' knowledge, they weren't aware of him actually meeting up with anyone.

The warrant for Haughwout's arrest on the new charges was signed on Wednesday. His previous charges of assaulting an officer were said to still be pending in court.

Dunn said the suspect was already in Middletown Superior Court for an unrelated matter. Police took him into custody at that point.

During his arraignment on Thursday morning, Judge Edward Mularky said Haughwout cannot have any contact with minors. He is also to have no contract with victim and not to use the Internet with any electronic device. 

"Want me to read out loud what he allegedly wrote to this 14-year-old girl," Mularky said during the proceedings. 

"It doesn't even involve nudity. So whatever the stretch of the claim that this is child porn, at least according to what I have read, would not fall within that definition," said the teen's attorney Jon Schoenhorn.

Haughwout, who has five pending cases, is no stranger to law enforcement officials. He's been the subject of scrutiny since posting drone videos to YouTube.

One involved a gun-firing drone, the other involved an altercation with a sunbathing woman at Hammonasset Beach in Madison.

Now, Haughwout, who has no prior convictions, faces charges of enticing/inducing/coercing a minor with a computer, fourth-degree attempted sexual assault, injury/risk of impairing morals and possession of child pornography.

His cash-only bond was set at $35,000. 

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