Arvada firefighter accused of sexual exploitation of minor

Michael Gowey (Photo: Jefferson County Sheriffs Department)

ARVADA, Colo. — An Arvada firefighter is charged with nine counts of sexual exploitation of children after investigators found that he allegedly sent and received inappropriate images via a messaging app.

Michael Gowey, 35, was arrested on the charges this week. Gowey had been a firefighter with the Arvada Fire Protection District since 2011.

According to an arrest affidavit, investigators in Nashville were investigating chats found on the app Kik where an account belonging to Gowey, under the name “Jen Thomas,” talked about sexually abusing a six-year-old and offered to send pictures in exchange for an Amazon gift card.

The account, which IP address led investigators to Gowey, allegedly sent 14 pictures of the sexual abuse, according to the affidavit.

After initially denying the allegations, Gowey admitted to some of the allegations after investigators found evidence linking him to the account.

He admitted that he used Kik to send and receive sexually exploitative material.

“Just one or two times, I think. I don’t remember to be honest with you,” Gowey said in the affidavit. Gowey admitted to investigators that he pretended to be a woman and owned those accounts.

Gowey denied receiving anything of value in exchange for the photos and denied ever touching a child inappropriately.

The Arvada Fire Protection District fired Gowey upon news of his arrest.

“All of us at the Arvada Fire Protection District are shocked, angry, and saddened by the level of the allegations that have come forth. Mr. Gowey’s employment with the District ended as soon as we became aware of his arrest and the charges leveled against him,” fire chief Jon Greer said in a statement.

“We want to assure the public that the alleged incomprehensible behavior of Mr. Gowey is not representative in any way of the values of our organization, our members or our community,” the statement said.

“Please join all of the members of the Arvada Fire Protection District in praying for victims of sexual exploitation and their families.”