Former Denver Nugget Chris Andersen, aka the Birdman, has been a major part of the Miami Heat's success in the NBA playoffs to date thanks in part to a 15-15 consecutive basket streak that remained alive last night despite the Heat's loss to the Pacers -- because he didn't attempt a shot. Such achievements contrast sharply with his ignominious exit from the Nuggets last July following a search of his home by Douglas County's Internet Crimes Against Children unit. And today, a law-enforcement rep confirms that the investigation into Andersen remains open.
In May 2012, as we've reported, Andersen's home in Larkspur was searched by the ICAC task force, accompanied by representatives of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.
The agencies were said to have been acting on a tip from a "California law enforcement agency" first received in February and had been investigating the Birdman since then.
Computer hardware was reportedly seized from the residence.
Meanwhile, the Nuggets granted Andersen a leave of absence to deal with the situation -- and shortly thereafter, his attorney, Colin Bresee, released a statement about the case.
In it, Bresee maintained that circa 2010, Andersen began receiving letters with accompanying racy photos from a female fan who claimed to be 21 but apparently was not.
She flew to Colorado the next year, and when Andersen didn't return her affections, Bresee says she "threatened to retaliate if he did not provide financial remuneration."
In other words, Bresee claimed Andersen wasn't a child-porn fancier but a victim. And at this writing, he still hasn't been charged with a crime.
Nonetheless, Andersen was cut by the Nuggets -- for basketball reasons, supposedly, rather than his legal issues.
The big-man challenged Miami Heat subsequently came calling, and after what's been described as thorough investigation of the DCSO inquiry, team brass signed him up. He's since become a key player off the bench for the LeBron James-led squad.
That doesn't mean he's free and clear when it comes to the Colorado investigation, however.
Continue for more about the Chris "Birdman" Andersen investigation, including photos. Via e-mail, Ron Hanavan, spokesman for the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, writes, "The case is still open and we are continuing our investigation." He also provides the following synopsis:
The Douglas County Sheriff's Office Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) unit began investigating Andersen in February 2012, and executed a warrant on 05/10/12. The investigation has been ongoing and continues to be ongoing. We do not comment about specifics in regards to ongoing investigation and where we are in the process. I can say RMRCFL [Rocky Mountain Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory] completed the forensic examination and have forwarded the report to the DCSO for further investigation/review. That is one piece of the investigation and we have been investigating/reviewing those results, which is a very lengthy and time intensive process.
As for Bresee, Andersen's initial lawyer, he offered no comment when we contacted him for an interview earlier today. Back in January, however, Mark Bryant, another attorney for Andersen, stressed to the Denver Post that the inquiry doesn't involve children and reiterated the story about Andersen's victimization. He also shared a statement from the Birdman himself. It reads:
I appreciate everybody that's supported me, and I don't want to say anything bad about anybody, it's everybody's worst nightmare, but I just want to thank everyone that supported me and knew this was a lie from the beginning. They know how I love people, they know how I love kids and they know where my heart has been in this community.
Look below to see a gallery of photos from Andersen's glory days in Denver. Continue to see more tat-heavy photos of Chris "Birdman" Andersen. Continue to see more tat-heavy photos of Chris "Birdman" Andersen. Continue to see more tat-heavy photos of Chris "Birdman" Andersen. Continue to see more tat-heavy photos of Chris "Birdman" Andersen. Continue to see more tat-heavy photos of Chris "Birdman" Andersen. Continue to see more tat-heavy photos of Chris "Birdman" Andersen.
More from our Sports archive: "Photos: Chris 'Birdman' Andersen goodbye even though he's still on Nuggets?"
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.