A photographer accused of child sexual abuse may have his GPS ankle monitor removed today.
Zachary Arthur Warburg, 27, is set to appear before Judge Brian Hill for a preliminary hearing setting conference and to ask if the ankle monitor can be removed. Judge Hill agreed in November to consider the request.
Mr. Warburg is represented by Jeff Chambliss, the former chief trial deputy of the Santa Barbara County Public Defender’s Office. Mr. Chambliss went into private practice in 2017 after 27 years at the Public Defender’s Office.
On March 25 the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office charged Mr. Warburg with lewd acts on a
child under 14, attempted penetration of a child of a child under 18 with an object, communicating with a minor with intent to commit sex crimes, possession of child pornography, dissuading a witness from reporting a crime, and annoying or molesting a child under 18 among other charges.
The full complaint contains 24 charges, 19 of which are felonies, and an enhancement that limits plea bargaining in serious felony cases.
Mr. Warburg was arrested March 26 and pleaded not guilty on March 29. He was released on $1 million bail in March.
Charging documents allege the offenses occurred from 2015 through spring 2018. The victims’ ages range
from 11 to 17.
In the months leading up to Mr. Warburg’s arrest, a sheriff’s school resource deputy assigned to San Marcos
High School was notified by a student that Mr. Warburg “was attempting inappropriate communications with
her of a sexual nature,” according to a sheriff’s office news release.
Detectives opened an investigation and discovered several other instances of suspicious, lewd and
suspected criminal behavior occurring between Mr. Warburg and minor female students at local high schools
and junior high schools, as well as outside the area.
During the November hearing, Mr. Chambliss claimed Mr. Warburg had not violated any bail terms and that his GPS ankle monitor should be removed because it caused irritation to his ankle and made it hard for him to shower.
Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Karapetian said the GPS monitor provides an additional layer of protection for the community and ensures Mr. Warburg does not physically contact the 16 victims in the case.
Mr. Warburg claimed the battery in his GPS monitor malfunctioned in the middle of the night at least once and he had to report the incident to the County Probation Department.
Prior to his arrest, Mr. Warburg was a freelance photographer who covered fires, traffic collisions and other emergencies. His work appeared primarily in Noozhawk and his now deleted Facebook photography page.