Cal Fire retiree held on child porn charge

vpatton@mercedsunstar.comMay 5, 2012 

A retired Atwater Cal Fire captain is accused of possessing child pornography after an investigation by Mariposa County Sheriff's deputies.

Brian McDonald, 52, of Mariposa was arrested April 19 after deputies served search warrants in connection with the investigation, according to a statement by the department.

Officials haven't elaborated on where the search warrants were served.

McDonald was booked into the Mariposa County Jail on suspicion of one count of child pornography. He was released from the jail with a citation April 24 after posting bail, according to the department.

The sheriff's department launched its investigation March 18 after receiving reports of a child molestation.

McDonald filed his retirement papers with the California Public Employees' Retirement System on April 16, three days before his arrest, according Julie Hutchinson, a Cal Fire battalion chief.

McDonald was hired by the city of Atwater in September 1995, and stayed when Cal Fire took the reins of the department in October 2009, Hutchinson said. "These are very serious allegations, obviously. We're cooperating fully with law enforcement as they move forward," she said.

McDonald is scheduled to appear in Mariposa County Superior Court on May 31. He could not be reached for comment Friday.

McDonald's base salary at the time of his retirement was $5,013 per month, Hutchinson said.

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