Chris Birdman Andersen Cleared in Investigation

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The Miami Heat's Chris "Birdman" Andersen's name has been cleared in an investigation after a woman posed as Andersen to talk to underage girls online. Andersen's Denver home was raided in May 2012 as part of the investigation by the Douglas County Sheriff's Office Internet Crimes Against Children Unit. Fifteen months later, authorities have determined that not only is Andersen clear of any criminal wrongdoing, but that he is the victim of a catfish hoax as well.

The situation started in 2010 when Andersen met with a California woman he met online. While Andersen thought the woman was 21, she was actually 17, and when Andersen didn't show more interest, the woman became upset. That sounds straight forward enough until you throw in the third wheel that complicated the mess out of everything, leading to a 15 month investigation: Shelly Lynn Chartier.

Chartier, a woman from Canada, is said to have arranged the initial meeting between Andersen and the California woman. After things didn't work out between Birdman Andersen and the California woman, Chartier stepped in and began operating under the aliases of both people. After using Andersen's identity to make sexually explicit demands of the California woman, the woman went to the police, which prompted an investigation into Andersen by the Internet Crimes Against Children Unit.

Apparently neither Andersen nor the California woman realized they weren't really communicating with the other later on, but instead were part of a catfishing scheme. Catfishing schemes became well-known when Notre Dame's Manti Te'o was duped into thinking that the Internet girlfriend he thought was real died. Unfortunately for Birdman Andersen, the catfishing scheme he got roped into was far more complicated and had serious implications.

In a statement made by a representative for the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office, “Based on the information that we have been able to obtain and analyze, we are not pursuing charges against Chris Andersen." Chartier, on the other hand, has been arrested by Candian authorities and charged with the following: possession of child pornography, personation, extortion and transmission of child pornography,

"We were always confident that Chris was innocent but we just couldn't figure out what had happened," Andersen's lawyer, Mark Bryant, told ESPN.com. "It turned out that it was a Manti Te'o situation. It was Manti Te'o on steroids." The Heat organization issued a statement saying, "We are not surprised that this is the end result. We are happy for Chris and glad this unfortunate incident is behind him."

Miami Heat fans are thrilled to see their star center finally have his name cleared from the investigation. "I can't tell you how much Chris agonized about the label placed on him and some of the public's perception that resulted from these acts," Bryant said. "Chris among all things is a member of our community and has a long, documented history of reaching out to children. He's done this through assisting with children's camps, local orphanages, literally (dressing up as) Santa Claus in our community."

Image via YouTube