Sonoma County

Petaluma Boys and Girls Club Employee Arrested for Child Endangerment: Police

The director of a Boys and Girls Club after-school program was arrested Monday on suspicion of posting a 6-year-old girl's photo and her personal information in an internet child pornography chat room, according to the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety.

Benjamin Goerke, 22, of Rohnert Park, was arrested on suspicion of child endangerment and was booked into Sonoma County Jail. Goerke posted $50,000 bail early Tuesday and is scheduled to be arraigned in Sonoma County Superior Court on Friday.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security informed the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety on March 29 that the girl's photo and personal information were posted on the Internet site, where images of child pornography are shared and arrangements are made to have the children available for molestation.

The girl's parents confirmed the girl's posted name, Petaluma address and phone number were correct and that her photo was taken at an afterschool program at a Boys and Girls Club in the Petaluma area, according to public safety officials.

The IP address of the user who posted the photo and information was traced to Goerke's residence on East Cotati Avenue in Rohnert Park. Goerke was program director of the after school program the girl attended and he worked at other Boys and Girls Clubs in Petaluma, public safety officials said.

Investigators got a $50,000 arrest warrant for child endangerment and arrested Goerke at the after school program on Monday. Officers searched his home and took electronics that access the Internet.

Goerke admitted taking non-pornographic photos of the girl with his cellphone and accessing her personal information remotely through the Boys and Girls Club's network, Rohnert Park Cmdr. Aaron Johnson said.

Officers are still investigating whether there are additional victims related to Goerke's activities.

The Boys and Girls Club in a statement Tuesday said Goerke was subject to multiple background checks and the organization does not tolerate any inappropriate or illegal activity on the part of any club staff.

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