An accused child molester's request to a judge that evidence collected by police with a search warrant not be allowed at trial has been denied, court records show.
Defendant Aaron Dibuono of Sierra Vista argued in court in January that the search warrant obtained by Sierra Vista Police detectives was too broad because it failed to "establish probable cause to search any particular computer or device" at Dibuono's residence or inside his vehicle.
The defendant's motion to suppress evidence also mentioned that investigators had seized his cell phone before they requested the search warrant, and because of that, the search of his phone was "illegal" and "warrantless."
But on May 21, Cochise County Superior Court Judge Timothy Dickerson denied Dibuono's motion, which means the evidence gathered by investigators may be used at trial.
The evidence collected by investigators includes 29 videos in which the victim's genitals were exposed. The girl was a minor when the videos were taken, police said.
Dibuono was arrested almost a year ago after an investigation revealed he had assaulted his victim in 2012. But the bulk of the offenses he has been charged with occurred in June 2020, police said.
Aside from the child molestation offense in 2012, Dibuono also was charged with aggravated luring of a minor for sex, luring a minor for sex, furnishing harmful material to a minor, attempted sexual conduct with a minor and involving a minor in a drug offense.
Sierra Vista detectives became involved in the matter after the girl and her mother went to police last June and reported that she had been raped in 2012 at the age of 8. The victim and her mother also said Dibuono had contacted her in 2019 through Facebook and told her that he had a sex dream about her, police said.
Last June, Sierra Vista Police Detective John Andela and the girl contacted Dibuono on Facebook and started a conversation that turned sexual. Andela took over, posing as the girl, court records show. During that exchange, Dibuono suggested they switch over to Snapchat.
As they continued to talk with Andela posing as the victim, Dibuono sent over a video of himself, his genitals exposed, court documents show. After more sexually explicit conversation, Andela suggested — still posing as the girl — that the two meet. When Dibuono showed up, he was arrested, police said.
Following that investigators drew up a search warrant focusing on a charge of sexual exploitation of a minor. The warrant, signed by the Sierra Vista magistrate, included a search of any devices "capable of storing, sending, receiving, or processing any electronic media." The list included cell phones.
In his order, Dickerson stated that because the cell phone was taken from Dibuono before the search warrant was executed and because that fact was not mentioned in the search warrant does not mean the forensic search of the cell phone was illegal. The judge further stated the search was valid and that if probable cause did not exist, then the search was still good based on the officer's "good faith."
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for June 14.
Dibuono continues to be held without bond at the Cochise County Jail.