Chris 'Birdman' Andersen Investigated by Child Crimes Unit

Denver Nuggets center Chris 'Birdman' Andersen investigated for child crimes.

May 11, 2012, 1:01 PM

May 11, 2012— -- The home of Denver Nuggets center Chris "Birdman" Andersen was raided by detectives in the Internet Crimes Against Children unit of the Douglas County, Colo., sheriff's office Thursday.

Authorities seized his computer and other items and took them to a computer forensics laboratory run by the FBI and local police.

The sheriff's department said that Andersen's home was searched after a California law enforcement agency tipped off the child crimes unit in February, launching a three-month investigation.

The department would not say what crime they were investigating, but the unit handles crimes including child pornography, child prostitution and child sex tourism, according to its website.

Andersen, who is known for his colorful tattoos, was home and "fully cooperated" with investigators when they showed up at his home this morning to serve the warrant, Douglas County Sheriff's officials said. He practiced earlier that morning with the Nuggets, according to ABC News affiliate KMGH.

Anderson's attorney late Friday suggested the NBA player was threatened with retaliation for not reciprocating interest in a woman who claimed that she was 21 years old.

"A female fan in 2010 mailed Mr. Andersen multiple letters and included several photos in which she was scantily clad," read a statement published in the Denver Post and authenticated by the attorney. "Chris and this woman communicated with each other and in 2011, this woman, who represented herself as 21 years of age, flew to Colorado, showing her required identification. After leaving Colorado, she became upset at his lack of interest. In 2012, she threatened to retaliate if he did not provide financial remuneration.

"Professional athletes are routinely targeted by these types of individuals," the statement said. "The media has been speculating that he's a suspect and not a victim in a criminal investigation. Mr. Andersen has been fully cooperative with the authorities. The investigation is expected to take three weeks. We're confident it will show that Chris did not engage in any criminal conduct."

For now, the Andersen investigation is a local law enforcement case, authorities say. However, local and federal law enforcement officials told ABC News that the property seized from Andersen's home is being analyzed at the FBI's Rocky Mountain Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory in Centennial, Colo.

The lab is run by the FBI, but also helps out with cases being investigated by state and local agencies.

In a typical case, forensic analysts at the lab will make copies of computer hard drives and begin the painstaking process of looking for evidence that might incriminate--or exonerate--a suspect.

In the Andersen case, officials say, that process could take several weeks.

Andersen's NBA team released a statement in response to the search.

"The Denver Nuggets are aware of today's media reports involving forward/center Chris Andersen. It involves a legal investigation and we are awaiting further details."

"Chris has been excused from all team-related activities indefinitely as he deals with the reported investigation. Per team policy, the Nuggets will not comment on any ongoing legal circumstance involving any player or employee," the statement concluded.

Andersen has had legal troubles in the past, KMGH noted. He was kicked out of the NBA in 2006 for violating the league's drug policy, and had to wait two years before applying for reinstatement.

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