For Immediate Release - April 26, 2011

South Boston Man Pleads Guilty, Sentenced to Three to Five Years in Prison for Possessing and Distributing Child Pornography

BOSTON - A South Boston man pled guilty and was sentenced to state prison on charges he possessed and distributed child pornography, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced.

George Shipps, age 48, pled guilty yesterday in Suffolk Superior Court to charges of Possession of Child Pornography (6 counts) and Distribution of Child Pornography (2 counts). Following the change of plea, Superior Court Judge Judith Fabricant sentenced Shipps to three to five years in state prison, followed by 10 years of probation. Under the conditions of probation Shipps must participate in and complete sex offender treatment and register with the Sex Offender Registry Board, and refrain from contact with children under the age of 16 unless supervised by a parent of the child. Shipps must also allow the Department of Probation to inspect and to search, without prior announcement, any computer, electronic device, digital media, videotape, photographs or other item capable of storing photographs, images, or depictions, for the purpose of monitoring compliance with these conditions of probation, among other conditions.

On January 28, 2010, Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Attorney General's Office, with assistance from the Boston Police Department, arrested Shipps at his residence in South Boston. He was arraigned the following day in South Boston District Court where he pled not guilty and was ordered held on bail.

In January, the Massachusetts Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force obtained information from the Pennsylvania ICAC Task Force about a computer offering known child pornography images located in the South Boston area. Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Attorney General's Office tracked the computer system to Shipps' residence and obtained a search warrant for that computer. Investigators discovered that Shipps possessed images of child pornography and allowed them to be accessed through a peer-to-peer online network. Authorities executed the search warrant on January 28, 2010, after which time Shipps was placed under arrest without incident. He was subsequently transported to the State Police Barracks in South Boston for processing.

On January 29, 2010, Shipps was arraigned in South Boston District Court where he entered a plea of not guilty, and was ordered held on $100,000 cash bail, $1,000,000 surety.

On March 25, 2010, a Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against Shipps. Shipps was arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court on April 1, 2010, where he pled not guilty and was ordered held on his district court bail of $100,000. Shipps pled guilty to all charges and was sentenced yesterday.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Christopher Kelly of Attorney General Coakley's Cyber Crime Division, and was investigated by Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Attorney General's Office and the Massachusetts ICAC Task Force. The Attorney General's Computer Forensics Lab conducted an extensive forensic analysis of the evidence seized in the investigation. The Boston Police Department also assisted with the investigation.