Author:Jason Meisner  Contact Reporter

The ad on a popular travel website seemed innocent enough: a free, private tour of the spectacular observatory atop the former John Hancock Center, tailored especially for fathers and sons.

But at the same time he was advertising the tour, Christopher Colon, an operations manager for the popular observatory, was also seeking other men online who were into child pornography and “perv play,” according to a federal search warrant affidavit unsealed late last month.

Colon, a registered sex offender because of his 2015 felony conviction for possessing child pornography, was looking for a man willing to let his son or nephew take part in Colon’s sexual fantasies, the 45-page affidavit alleged.

When a federal agent posing as a father with a 10-year-old son reached out last December, Colon said a private bathroom and office would be available during the Hancock tour “if you would like some special private time,” the affidavit said.

The allegations raise questions about how Colon was allowed to work at one of city’s busiest tourist attractions — boasting more than half a million visitors a year — in spite of his sex offender background.

On a recent weekday morning, a Tribune reporter visited the observatory at 875 North Michigan Avenue (as the Magnificent Mile skyscraper is now known) and found Colon still working as a manager while dozens of children waited in line to take the elevator ride to the 94th-floor observatory.

After the Tribune raised questions late last week about the convicted sex offender’s employment, a spokeswoman for 360 Chicago, the observatory’s owner, said in an emailed statement that the company took immediate steps “to remove this individual from our premises.”

“In this matter we have acted swiftly and with an abundance of caution to ensure the safety and security of our guests and employees, which is always our foremost concern,” said the spokeswoman, Natalie Stanichuk.

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