Teen charged with molestation also found with child porn

An 18-year-old teen charged in the molestation of a Storey County boy last week, also allegedly possessed thousands of computer image of boys as young as 6 months old being violated by unidentified men, officials said Wednesday.

Zachary Richard Harding was initially charged with lewdness with a child under 14. On Wednesday, two additional counts of possession of child pornography " one pertaining to alleged digital pictures and another to video " were filed against Harding in the Storey County Justice Court.

Harding was arrested July 10 in the molestation of the 5-year-old brother of a friend after the boy told his parents Harding had assaulted him. Harding was staying with the Virginia Highlands family after being evicted from his Reno apartment, said Sheriff's Sgt. Ken Quirk.

Quirk said that during an interview with detectives, Harding allegedly made comments that led officers to obtain a search warrant for his laptop computer.

"Then I procured another search warrant and took the computer down to Homeland Security where a computer forensic expert dug into the hard drive," said Quirk.

On Wednesday morning, Quirk said, he was contacted by the computer expert from the Nevada Attorney General's Office and she provided him with 186 copies of photos allegedly taken from Harding's laptop that showed boys in ages from 6 months old to 13 years old, being subjected to sexual acts.

"These are obviously photos of prepubescent children," said Quirk.

A preliminary hearing has been set for Aug. 7.

Harding remains in custody on $100,000 bail. His attorney indicated during

Harding's first appearance in court on Wednesday that she was going to file a formal motion for bail reduction, said Storey County Assistant District Attorney Laura Grant.

"I declined to agree that it should be reduced," Grant said.

- Contact reporter F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1213.

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