The former director of King County’s Boeing Field was arrested at his Utah home last week and criminally charged with possessing thousands of sexual images of children, according to the Utah Attorney General’s Office.
Randall Berg, 69, is a longtime aviation expert who became director of the King County International Airport-Boeing Field in April 2016 before suddenly retiring two years later, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal. He also previously worked at Auburn’s municipal airport, South Lake Tahoe airport in California and spent nearly 15 years as operations director at Salt Lake City International Airport, the journal reported.
“We have heard through media reports about the charges filed against former King County International Airport director Randall Berg. Berg worked for King County from January 2016 until he retired in March 2018,” Cameron Satterfield, a spokesman for the King County Department of Executive Services, which manages Boeing Field, said in an email Thursday. “We understand that the allegations against him may partially coincide with the time he worked for the county. We have not been contacted by investigators at this point, but we will of course comply with law enforcement agencies looking into this matter. Since Berg is no longer employed by King County, we will have no further comment.”
Located four miles south of downtown Seattle, the airport is the home base to air-cargo companies, flight schools, charter operations, helicopter services, and small-aircraft owners, according to its website.
Berg was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on May 13 and was charged Friday in Third Judicial District Court with 25 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, according to jail records and a report by Deseret News, a newspaper based in Salt Lake City. He is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail, jail records show.
Under Utah’s criminal code, sexual exploitation of a minor relates to the illegal possession or production of child pornography.
Over 12 days in January, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received eight separate tips that someone had uploaded files of suspected sexual images of children to a Google Photos account and the account was traced to Berg, says the probable cause statement outlining the attorney general’s case against him. The case was investigated by investigators assigned to Utah’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
According to the statement:
Investigators obtained a search warrant and found 30,000 images of children, mostly girls ages 5 to 13, in Berg’s Google Photos account. Because of Berg’s extensive experience in the aviation industry and the belief that he could easily flee Utah, a judge agreed to delay notifying Berg that the warrant had been executed.
On May 13, task force members served a search warrant at Berg’s house in Draper, Utah, which is about 20 miles south of Salt Lake City. Investigators say Berg admitted to downloading the images, something he’d been regularly doing since at least 2002, the statement says. Berg apparently tried to delete some of the images after viewing them and investigators found another 19,000 images in the recycle bin on his desktop computer.
“Berg is a well-known and well-connected professional in the aviation industry. Due to his extensive experience and connections to the aviation industry, there is reason to believe Berg can flee the state of Utah with ease,” an investigator wrote in the probable-cause statement.
Should Berg post bail, the Attorney General’s Office has requested that he be ordered not to leave Utah and to surrender his passport, that he have no contact with minors or access the Internet, and that he be fitted with a GPS ankle monitor, the statement says.