U.S. State Department Security Officer James Cafferty Pleads Guilty To Child Pornography

January 6, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The Department of State diplomatic security officer recently snared in an undercover FBI child pornography investigation yesterday pleaded guilty to a single felony count, pursuant to a deal struck with federal prosecutors.

By copping to transporting child porn, James Cafferty, 45, now faces a mandatory minimum prison term of five years (though a judge could sentence him to up to 20 years in custody). Cafferty, who most recently was stationed at the U.S. Embassy in London, is seen in the mug shot at right.

In a plea agreement filed in U.S. District Court in Tampa, Cafferty admitted that when he returned to the U.S. from England in August, he carried three hard drives containing up to 15,000 child porn images (both photos and videos). Digital storage media found in Cafferty’s Largo, Florida home during a law enforcement search contained more than 30,000 child porn images.

During questioning by federal agents, Cafferty “admitted ‘photo-shopping’ himself into scenes constituting child pornography.”

Cafferty, who is scheduled to be sentenced on March 23, first came to the attention of federal agents in the course of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement probe that was launched in April 2006. The ICE investigation identified 5000 U.S. residents, including Cafferty, who had paid to subscribe to web sites offering child pornography. According to the plea agreement, Cafferty “was flagged” as a State Department employee who had purchased access to several of the illicit sites, including “Sick Room.”

In mid-2011, Department of Defense investigators enlisted the FBI’s help in its probe of Cafferty. Since the security officer’s subscriptions dated back several years, agents “reinitiated the investigation to determine if Cafferty was still utilizing the Internet via his Yahoo email accounts to access child pornography.”

That “reinitiation” involved an undercover FBI web site purporting to offer illicit videos for free. As detailed by TSG four months ago, that operation targeted Cafferty, who was reeled in by federal agents after he logged into the undercover site (from an IP address in London) and sought to download a video purporting to depict “a 9-10 y.o. girl and man” engaged in a variety of sexual activity.

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Massachusetts TSA Agent Busted With Child Pornography Pleads Guilty

December 23, 2011

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – A former employee of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration has pleaded guilty to having thousands of child pornography images and videos on his home computers.

Federal prosecutors said Andrew Cheever, 34, of Lowell entered his plea on Monday and faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced on March 22.

Authorities said Cheever made the images available on the Internet using peer-to-peer file sharing software.

Cheever had worked for the TSA since 2007 and was a security checkpoint screener at Logan International Airport until he was taken into custody in September.

He no longer works for the TSA.

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Baltimore Maryland TSA Officer Michael Scott Wilson Arrested, Charged With Child Pornography

October 12, 2011

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND — A Transportation Security Administration security officer is out on bail after he was arrested and charged with child pornography.

Michael Scott Wilson, 41, has been suspended from his job following the arrest.

Wilson was charged Monday with possession and distribution of child pornography after agents searched his Perry Hall home.

Neighbors said he’s married with no children. They said they’re stunned and disturbed by the charges, especially since most of them described Wilson as a straight-laced federal worker who took pride in his position and the trust that comes with it.

“As a parent, it’s disturbing to find out that someone is living so close, especially employed in his capacity,” said neighbor Malik Kelly.

“I travel sometimes twice a week, so to think that one of those screeners could live in your neighborhood and face charges like this is alarming. Definitely alarming,” said neighbor Brian Ryerson.

The TSA released a statement regarding Wilson’s arrest, saying, “The TSA holds its security officers to the highest professional and ethical standards and aggressively investigates allegations of misconduct. The allegations against this individual in no way reflect on the outstanding job our more than 50,000 security officers do every day to ensure the security of the traveling public.”

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Department Of Homeland Security Official Anthony Mangione Suspended, Arrested, Charged With Child Pornography In Florida

September 28, 2011

MIAMI, FLORIDA – The head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for south Florida has been arrested on child pornography charges, the Department of Justice said Wednesday.

Anthony Mangione, 50, of Parkland, Florida, was charged in a three-count indictment unsealed Wednesday with transportation of child pornography, receipt of child pornography and possession of child pornography, authorities said in a statement.

“According to the indictment, between March 2010 and September 2010, Mangione allegedly transported and received visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct,” the statement said. “The indictment also alleges that Mangione possessed electronically stored messages that contained additional images of child pornography during the same time period.”

Mangione was arrested Tuesday by FBI agents and made an initial appearance Wednesday in federal court in West Palm Beach, Florida.

During the appearance, Mangione pleaded not guilty to the charges, according to CNN affiliate WPTV. Both the prosecution and the defense requested he undergo a psychological evaluation, and the judge approved that request.

“The government has concerns that given the magnitude of the charges, that he might melt down,” defense attorney David Howard told WPTV. “So there is … real concern, and it’s going to be addressed.”

Mangione, a 27-year law enforcement veteran, wore a gray jumpsuit with “federal prisoner” on the back in court Wednesday, and his hands and feet were shackled, WPTV said. He made no statement during the hearing.

He was being held in the Broward County, Florida, jail, according to jail records.

A law enforcement official who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media said Mangione has been on leave from his job at ICE. WPTV reported he was placed on paid administrative leave in April amid a federal investigation into four images on his home computer he allegedly received via e-mail.

According to its website, ICE targets and investigates child pornographers, child sex tourists and facilitators and human smugglers and traffickers of minors, among others. The agency developed Operation Predator, which it describes as “an initiative to identify, investigate and arrest child predators and sexual offenders.”

If convicted, Mangione faces up to 20 years in prison, the Department of Justice said. He also faces a term of supervised release from five years to life following his prison sentence and he will be required to register as a sex offender.

Asked about the Mangione case on Wednesday at a news conference on another matter, ICE director John Morton said his agency cooperated fully with the investigation, but he declined to comment further.

The case is being investigated by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI, the Department of Justice said. Broward County referred questions to federal authorities, and the FBI referred them to the Department of Justice.

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Kingsport Tennessee Police Officer Richard Chandler Used Neighbors, Businesses, And Church Routers To Access Child Pornography Network – Sometimes While On Duty

August 16, 2011

KINGSPORT, TENNESSEE – Investigators say a former Kingsport police
officer accessed child pornography over wireless networks belonging to
neighbors, businesses and a church.

Richard Chandler is one of 72 people indicted in an investigation
into an international child pornography network that prosecutors say
used an online bulletin board called Dreamboard to access thousands of
images and videos of sexually abused children.

WJHL-TV reports that the federal search
warrant alleges Chandler made 117 posts to the site, including twice
when he was on duty.

According to court papers, members used screen names rather than
actual names and accessed the bulletin board via proxy servers, with
Internet traffic routed through other computers to disguise a user’s
location.

Special agents said Chandler was able to access the Internet from
more than 30 locations, including one belonging to the Higher Ground
Baptist Church.

“Chandler’s residence … is uniquely positioned such that numerous
wireless networks from adjacent streets appear to be accessible,”
according to the warrant.

The Kingsport church’s network is now password protected.

“As soon as we found out we took care of it,” said Wayne Bledsoe, who is in charge of pastoral care.

Another connection allegedly accessed by Chandler belonged to Marty Blevins.

“To believe that man’s in there going online on my account to get on
there to do something like that with children and stuff, I hope he rots
in jail,” he said. “That’s putting it nicely.”

The U.S. indictments were unsealed in Shreveport. La. The Greeneville
attorney listed as representing Chandler did not return a message from
The Associated Press seeking comment.

Blevins said he planned to change to increase his security settings.

“I don’t want nobody on my stuff,” Blevins said. “I want it private.”

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Child Pornography Remains Legal In Russia – Content Hosted On Servers There Is Available On The Internet

June 4, 2011

MOSCOW, RUSSIA – Keen, bright-eyed and earnest, the little boy answers the Russian investigator’s questions enthusiastically, as if describing a cartoon, not sexual abuse.

“He took off my underwear and photographed me,” says the victim, whom Russian authorities are not allowing to be identified.

The boy goes on to describe sexual abuse at the hands of his own father. Without this testimony, child advocates say, it would be impossible to convict the man, whose trial begins later this year.

In Russia, possessing child pornography is not a crime and laws that govern child exploitation are weak. Government authorities say the majority of sexual crimes against children are never reported or investigated.

Those are among the reasons that even the Russian government admits the country is a world leader in the production of child pornography.

Russian lawmaker Elena Mizulina has been painstakingly shepherding a bill through the country’s parliament that would finally protect children.

“For the first time people will be held criminally responsible for storing child pornography even if they don’t distribute it. To this day, you can’t punish anyone for that” in Russia, Mizulina said. The bill has now passed its second of three readings in Russia’s State Duma, the lower house of the legislature.

The law can’t come soon enough for victims. According to Russia’s Investigative Committee, more than 800 cases of sexual abuse were reported in the first three months of this year, an increase of 13%.

“Analysis of such crimes indicates that sexual assaults against the integrity of minors and their rights and freedoms is mostly stemming from the lack of control by parents, guardians, as well as officials of educational institutions and local government officials,” said Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for the Investigative Committee.

Yet even with stronger laws, it is the testimony of young children that will ultimately bring punishment to those who prey on children.

Yevgeny Tsymbal, director of a Children’s Psychology Center in Moscow, told CNN that weak laws and lack of evidence usually help the abusers avoid detection and punishment.

“These crimes usually go on for a long time,” he said, adding that because physical signs of abuse are often not apparent, “these crimes are very rarely discovered.”

The Internet is also a haven for child pornographers in Russia. This week, the Kremlin’s child advocate, Pavel Astakhov, spoke in favor of a more stringent policy to force Internet providers to take responsibility for child pornography sites hosted on their servers and social networks.

“A person who wants to find this content on the Internet, this person can do it pretty easily,” said Mark Tverdynin, director of Saferunet.ru, an initiative that is trying to scrub the Russian Internet clean of child pornography. The charity says it shut down as many as 7,000 such sites this past fall and winter.

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Pedophile Police Officer Wannabe Arrested In San Diego California After Telling On Himself In Application

May 18, 2011

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA — A man who applied for a job as a San Diego police officer was arrested after answers on his application raised red flags.

On his questionnaire to work for the San Diego Police Department, Robert Williams had to answer questions about crimes he might have committed.

A search warrant affidavit lists question No. 172 from Williams’ applicant questionnaire as trouble.

The question, which asked applicants if they have ever had sexual contact with a child, had a yes answer.

Question No. 175, which asked applicants if they have ever viewed, purchased, sold or subscribed to child pornography, also received a yes response.

10News learned there were two more flagged questions and responses.

Police then searched Williams’ car and apartment, confiscated computers and hard drives and arrested him.

Williams had lived at an apartment in Chula Vista for about a week. A man who answered the door told 10News, “He was a guest and he’s no longer living here. He won’t live here anymore.”

In April, Williams had moved in with a woman and her son in east San Diego.

“I did a favor and brought him in because he had nowhere to go and he gave me a sob story,” said Rory Shipp.

She said one day she turned on her computer and found a strange file after Williams left his hard drive hooked up.

“And when I opened the file, it was a little girl in blue and she was coming out of her clothes, playing with a little thing in her mouth. Oh my God, tears came out of my eyes. It was a home video,” she said.

Shipp said she kicked him out that day.

“He goes, ‘There’s nothing wrong with downloading it, Rory, nothing at all. Looking at it and downloading it, that’s okay.’ I said, ‘Are you sick?'” said Shipp.

Williams’ wife, Sunem, called 10News to read a statement from him. It said, “The San Diego Police Department has problems with the integrity of their officers because telling the truth during the hiring process brings prosecution upon those seeking employment. Mr. Williams told the truth, revealing his secrets, his thoughts, and his past. But he remains innocent of all charges they have illegally obtained. He is seeking expert counsel, pro bono.”

Williams was booked at the George Bailey Detention Facility. His bail was set at $150,000.

He is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

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