HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — Two Huntsville men who were domestic partners, according to prosecutors, appear at the center of a child sex abuse and child pornography case that reaches far beyond Huntsville, the Madison County District Attorney’s office said today.
Prosecutors are seeking a $1 million cash bond for Charles Dunnavant, who is charged with sexual torture, sodomy, aggravated child abuse and transmitting or exposing a person to a STD, in connection with the case against Carl Herold, who faces similar sex charges and child pornography production charges.
Herold, a Wyoming native who has a computer background and worked from home, according to prosecutors, moved to Huntsville about eight months ago. He operated a YouTube page called “Computer Science for Everyone.”
He was arrested last month by the Huntsville Police Department.
Dunnavant, who is from North Alabama-southern Tennessee, worked as a loan officer for Redstone Federal Credit Union until the investigation began in early November, said Madison County Assistant District Attorney Gabrielle Helix.
Dunnavant lived with Herold and Herold’s son in Huntsville. Court records list Herold’s address on the 3000 block of Lakewood Drive Northwest.
Dunnavant was arrested at a family home in Lincoln County, Tenn., Friday investigators said. During a hearing this afternoon seeking to raise Dunnavant’s bond from $276,000 cash-only to $1 million cash-only, Huntsville Police Department investigator Chad Smith testified he was contacted by the FBI in early November about the possibility of a child sex victim in Huntsville.
Smith said investigators came across numerous photos depicting sexual torture involving a child. Smith said investigators had an interview with the child, now 9, and he led investigators to his father. Herold spoke to investigators for several hours, Smith said, and implicated Dunnavant.
Smith also testified the child did not attend school in Huntsville and investigators could find no medical records for the child.
Dunnavant’s attorney Brian White, asked the investigator if the child they interviewed was depicted in the photos. Smith said investigators found more than 100 photos, but he didn’t want to look too closely at the child depicted.
In arguing for the $1 million bond, Helix said bond is about securing the defendant’s presence in court and community safety.
“He has the means of travel, family out of state and some of the allegations are there was much travel in the lives of Dunnavant and Herold,” she said. “They held the child captive for eight months and there are no standards, taboos or lines this defendant and his co-defendant hesitated to cross.”
Herold has a bond hearing set for Tuesday on the same $1 million cash-only bond request from Assistant DA Jason Scully-Clemmons, who is working on the cases with Helix.
Austin said she’d take the bond request under advisement and did not immediately rule.
The cases are expected to be consolidated for prosecution in Madison County.
“There are other potential jurisdictions with defendants, not anywhere near Alabama,” Helix said.