Head of Georgia Senate Research Office faces child porn charges

Alexander Azarian, the interim director for the Georgia Senate Research Office, has been charged with two felony counts of child pornography. Courtesy photo.

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Alexander Azarian, the interim director for the Georgia Senate Research Office, has been charged with two felony counts of child pornography. Courtesy photo.

Police have charged the interim director of the Georgia Senate Research Office with two felony counts of child pornography.

Alexander Azarian, 52, was arrested Thursday and charged with sexual exploitation of a child and possessing child pornography. He was released Saturday on $70,000 bond.

When contacted by an Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter, Azarian said he had nothing to say before hanging up the phone.

Steve Tippins, chief of staff for Senate President Pro Tem Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, said Azarian has been suspended indefinitely and the office is cooperating with law enforcement as the investigation continues.

According to the arrest warrant, officials at Yahoo contacted the Center for Missing and Exploited Children saying an account, later found to be used by Azarian, has sent and received sexually explicit content featuring minors since 2007.

Cobb County police searched Azarian’s home Thursday when they said Azarian confirmed he owned the email address but requested an attorney when he was asked about “child sexual abuse material coming from that account.”

Police said they found child pornography on Azarian’s phone, including photos of a minor girl engaged in sex with a male. The warrant did not include the ages of the girl or the male. Police say Azarian sent both photos to someone else.

Azarian has worked for the Georgia Senate since June 1999 and has been the interim director of the Senate Research Office since last year. The office assists senators and the lieutenant governor, providing analysis of state policy and legislation.