OCEAN PARK — A local tattoo artist is in Pacific County Jail on $1 million bail, following his arrest on suspicion of committing several sex offenses involving children.
Pacific County Sheriff’s Office deputies on Jan. 7 arrested John Keone Lopaka Aylward, 45, on suspicion of first-degree rape of a child, sexual exploitation of a minor, dealing in child pornography, and first-degree incest.
According to public records, Aylward is a father and stepfather with several children, ages three to adult. Though he now claims to run a tattoo business, he used to be a contractor, and co-owner of a local business, Affordable Roofing and Construction.
PCSO deputies on Dec. 12 executed a search warrant at Aylward’s home in the 2900 block of N Street in Ocean Park. The warrant was based on a “credible report” that Aylward was allegedly providing pornographic materials to a primary-school-aged child, according to a probable cause statement.
During the search, deputies seized “many cell phones, memory cards, computers, and other related items,” which they later reviewed. According to the investigating deputy, most of the devices either did not contain illegal materials, or were broken and could not be viewed. However, two cards allegedly contained incriminating images and videos.
A cell phone memory card, taken from a room where Aylward allegedly ran a tattoo business, contained about 17,000 files, though the deputy said he only reviewed parts of about 70 of the files.
According to the deputy, “most” of those files contained “hardcore” materials, and “about one quarter” of those contained short video clips of very explicit child pornography, featuring male and female children as young as about three years of age. Many of the videos appeared to be amateur films that were recorded with cell phones.
The phone and card will be sent to a forensic laboratory for further examination, the deputy said, noting that the card could potentially contain “large amounts of child pornography.”
On Jan. 6, the deputy reviewed a second memory card. That card contained three explicit videos that appear to have been filmed by Aylward. According to the report, the films allegedly show about 15 minutes total footage of Aylward coercing a primary-school-aged child into participating in a variety of sex acts. The deputy said the acts appear to have been filmed fairly recently, and at a location on the Peninsula.
After viewing the second card, deputies went to Aylward’s home, and arrested him at about 2:30 a.m. on Jan. 7.
During an early morning interview in custody, Aylward agreed to talk to police, but denied all of the allegations, calling them “ridiculous.” Aylward allegedly insisted that he was not familiar with the material on the memory cards, had never molested any children, and did not have any memory of the alleged events, until the deputies provided him with screen shots that allegedly showed him engaged in illegal sex acts.
According to the PC statement, Aylward then became extremely “emotional” and confessed to the alleged crimes. The deputy wrote, “John blamed the incident on his meth use and being tempted by Satan.”
During a Jan. 7 bail hearing in Pacific County Superior Court, Aylward, dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit, plastic slippers and a faded tattoo underneath his right eye, sobbed as he sat alone at the defendant’s table.
Speaking to the court, Pacific County Prosecutor Mark McClain said there was “a very real possibility of a life sentence,” and asked the judge to set a bail of $1 million.
Aylward asked to have his bail reduced, explaining that he needed to provide for family members and run his tattoo shop.
The Chinook Observer could not immediately find any record of a tattoo business owned or operated by Aylward. According to the state Department of Licensing, Aylward became a licensed tattoo artist in Feb. 2014. However, that license expired in April 2015, and there is no record of a current license in the DOL database. A search of state tax, corporation registry and business license databases did not turn up any tattoo-related businesses that appear to be affiliated with Aylward.
In an emotional appeal to the judge, Aylward acknowledged that he had “a problem,” but denied the incest charge.
“I love my family sir. I would not do anything to hurt them…” Aylward said. “I’m a good guy.”
The judge was not persuaded. “These are very serious charges,” he told Aylward, and set the bail at $1 million.