Police arrested Kirby Affholter Wednesday afternoon, and he bailed out of jail Thursday. Investigators say the registered sex offender had dozens of disturbing images of young girls on his computer.
Police and homeland security agents converged on his Atwater apartment Wednesday to serve a search warrant and arrest Kirby Affholter on child pornography charges.
Brandon Terrell lives in the area, he said, "I was in the alleyway right here and I seen a bunch of undercover cars pull up, like 8 or 10, and he was getting arrested, I was really like wow."
Neighbors say they knew the 52 year old was a registered sex offender. He was convicted in 1991 of lewd and lascivious acts with a child.
Another neighbor, Justin Griffin said, "We were pretty concerned because we do have kids come over and the neighbors have little kids, so we always kept an eye on them."
But investigators say Affholter is now facing new charges because he received and distributed at least 50 pornographic images of girls under the age of 14. The Merced Police Department is taking a lead role in the case because it has officers on the Valley's Internet Crimes against Children Task Force.
Sgt. Scott Skinner said, "It's very disgusting. I mean, even though I said they were 14 years and younger, a lot of the images the females looked to be about six to even younger than that."
Sergeant Scott Skinner says the investigation started with another suspect in Southern California. Authorities say they discovered Affholter was getting child pornography from that person, and he later confessed during questioning.
"He actually explained to them that it was like a fantasy game for him," Sgt. Scott Skinner said. "That he had provided a fake name for his email and Facebook account. He was posing as a female and was actually communicating with the suspect down in Orange County to receive the child pornography."
Neighbors say despite Affholter's past, those claims are still hard to comprehend.
Justin Griffin explained, "It was a shock to hear it because he's a friend of the family and actually went to our church and everything, but it was a shock to hear that was actually going on."
Investigators are still searching through computers taken from Affholter's home. They say more charges could follow depending on what they find.