WINDHAM – The mother of the Casco man arrested last week for possession of child pornography said this week her 22-year-old son, Joseph Payton, is innocent of the charges.

Payton, who has served as the Windham animal control officer, was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography by state police last Wednesday. His mother, Tiffany Payton, said her son did not intentionally download the explicit images and videos onto his computer.

“The charges are based on information that was not intentional,” said Tiffany Payton, who lives next door to her son’s camper on Leach Hill Road in Casco.

Payton said she did not know what her son’s attorney would say in Portland District Court on March 12, but in her opinion, the charges of possessing sexually explicit material should either be significantly decreased or dropped.

“We are hoping to have the charges reduced,” she said.

Windham town officials won’t say much about the charge against Joseph Payton, who works out of the Windham Police Department.

Town Manager Tony Plante, Police Chief Richard Lewsen and Human Resources Director Phyllis Moss all declined to comment on Payton’s arrest, describing it as a confidential personnel matter. Payton could not be reached at his telephone at the Windham Police Department or at his mother’s home.

According to Steve McCausland, a spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, Payton was arrested on Jan. 22 at his camper, where he lived with his girlfriend. Detectives from the computer crimes unit received a tip that sparked the investigation, McCausland said, which led to the discovery of multiple videos and images containing child pornography on Payton’s computer.

Payton was charged with a single count of possessing sexually explicit material, McCausland said. According to Missy Brown, records clerk at the Cumberland County Jail, Payton was jailed on Jan. 22, and bailed out the next day with a $1,000 cash payment, under the condition that he not use a computer or have any direct or indirect contact with any child under the age of 18.

In response to a Freedom of Access Act request for information regarding Payton’s employment status, Plante wrote in an email, “There are no final written decisions of any disciplinary action by the town involving Joseph Payton.”

Councilor Donna Chapman, when contacted, said that Payton was on leave but did not specify if he was being paid.

“I love kids and when we hear something like that it’s not what we want to hear in any town anywhere,” Chapman said.

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