Carl Herold was known to fellow Reddit users as CarlH, a popular poster who helped teach computer skills to others.
But to police in Alabama Herold is a man accused of committing unspeakable acts of torture and rape on his own 9-year-old son, including producing photographs and video so disturbing that police had a difficult time even viewing them.
Police in Alabama said that Carl Herold and another man, Charles Dunnavant, kept the 9-year-old boy captive for months while they sexually tortured him and made videos that were then spread out in a child porn ring. Police said they had a difficult time positively identifying the boy because investigators could not stomach looking at the more than 100 photographs the men produced, AL.com reported.
The two men face a litany of charges, with Charles Dunnavant looking at counts of sexual torture, sodomy, aggravated child abuse, and exposing a person to an STD. Carl Herold is charged with sodomy, sexual abuse, aggravated child abuse, child pornography production, and distributing child pornography. He faces an additional charge of allowing his child to be depicted in pornography.
Police said the two men were domestic partners.
Carl Herold operated a YouTube channel called "Computer Science for Everyone" and was very well known on the link-sharing site Reddit. His arrest shocked users on the site, where CarlH had a reputation as a thoughtful and considerate teacher.
They also noted that his online demeanor did not fit the description of the sadistic rapist in police allegations. To a user who felt insulted by an employer at a job interview, CarlH replied:
"Speaking as someone who has interviewed and hired, I would never insult an applicant like that. Even if I truly felt they were terrible at what they did, I would encourage them to learn more and contact me back at a later time."
Police said in addition to the rape and torture, Carl Herold kept his son isolated from the outside world, not enrolling him in school or taking him to doctor's visits.
Prosecutors are seeking $1 million bond for both suspects.
"He has the means of travel, family out of state and some of the allegations are there was much travel in the lives of Dunnavant and Herold," Madison County Assistant District Attorney Gabrielle Helix said at a bond hearing Monday. "They held the child captive for eight months and there are no standards, taboos or lines this defendant and his co-defendant hesitated to cross."
The FBI is continuing its investigation into Carl Herold and his possible connection to a child pornography ring.