Child porn investigation leads to concerns at Seattle comic book store

A Seattle man, who is on the sex offender registry for a 1995 conviction in Texas, was arrested by federal agents on Wednesday for possession of child pornography and the case is raising concerns that the man was also preying on young men at a comic book store in Seattle’s University District.

According to federal court documents, Robert L. Baugh was downloading and sharing child pornography through a peer-to-peer file sharing program. Federal agents in Seattle, New York and Newark began investigating Baugh – in separate cases – after they traced user names to him.

Agents with Homeland Security and the FBI jointly investigated the case and served a warrant at Baugh’s apartment on the 200 block of N. 112th Avenue in Seattle.

“(I) never had any kind of conversation with him - total hermit. Never came out. Never did anything,” said neighbor Eric Deeter who awoke to the sound of agents pounding on Baugh’s door on Wednesday morning.

During the child pornography investigation, federal agents learned Seattle Police investigated Baugh on three separate occasions in the last seven years, but charges were never filed in any of the cases. The most recent investigation happened in January after a woman filed a suspicious circumstance report with Seattle Police. According to the report, the woman’s 14-year-old son met Baugh at The Dreaming Comics and Games store in the University District. The woman told police she allowed her sons to go to the movies, comic store and other events with Baugh, who they considered a mentor, but the woman later learned from an employee at the comic store that Baugh is a registered sex offender.

The report filed by the teen’s mother does not indicate whether her children were harmed. She declined to comment when contacted by phone on Thursday evening.

“I am very, very hurt,” said Cory Sober who works at The Dreaming. “I don’t like giving out my trust to anyone even in a small amount as I did for here.”

Baugh is a Narcotics Anonymous mentor who helps at-risk young adults. He started going to The Dreaming about two years ago with his mentee to play a card game.

“He was polite. He was friendly to everybody and he never seemed creepy or (inappropriate) to anyone,” said Sober.

When Sober learned about Baugh’s past he confronted Baugh but allowed him to keep going to the store.

"I believe in second chances and since he was a Narcotics Anonymous member I know that he was trying to make up for a poorly spent past, so I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt,” said Sober.

Sober finally spoke up when he learned Baugh was hanging out with a teen customer away from the store. He contacted the teen's mother who then filed the police report. Sober fears the comic store may not have been the only place where Baugh was preying on young men.

“We take a lot of pride in the fact that we have a safe environment where parents can feel safe just leaving their kids for hours at a time, where they'll be safe and have fun," said Sober. "I don't want that to ever change."

Baugh is expected in federal court for a detention hearing on May 13.