For Immediate Release - January 12, 2012

Hull Man Pleads Guilty, Sentenced to Prison in Connection with Cyber Crime Sweep Targeting Users of Child Porn

BOSTON – A Hull man has pleaded guilty in connection with possessing and distributing child pornography over the Internet, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.   

“The exploitation of young children is a serious and disturbing offense,” AG Coakley said.  “The defendant used his computer to obtain and distribute child pornography over the Internet.  Our office remains vigilant in our efforts to protect children and prevent their victimization by identifying online predators, investigating their actions, and prosecuting their crimes.”

William McDonagh, age 51, pleaded guilty to charges of Possession of Child Pornography (6 counts) and Distribution of Obscene Material (2 counts).  After the plea was entered, Superior Court Judge Carol Ball sentenced McDonagh to one year and one day in State Prison.  McDonagh was further ordered to serve five years probation from and after his prison sentence under the conditions that he undergo sex offender evaluation and follow up treatment as prescribed, and no access to the Internet except for work related reasons. 

The charges were the result of a coordinated cyber crime sweep conducted throughout the state, which charged seven individuals who authorities alleged possessed, disseminated, or participated in sharing images of child pornography over the Internet.  The multi-agency investigation was a collaborative effort among the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Division, the Massachusetts State Police, the Massachusetts Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, and several of the Commonwealth’s law enforcement councils: the Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council (METROLEC), the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (NEMLEC), and the Cape Cod Regional Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC). 

Beginning in early July 2010, authorities began an investigation into the sharing of child pornography files over the Internet by numerous individuals throughout the Commonwealth. Authorities executed numerous search warrants at locations around the state and arrested and charged seven individuals in connection with allegedly possessing and or distributing child pornography over the Internet.  Authorities discovered thousands of images of child pornography and also seized a large quantity of computer equipment and digital media, which went thorough forensic examination by forensic investigators in Attorney General Coakley’s Computer Forensics Lab.  Forensic investigators use the latest technology to extract vital digital evidence such as videos and pictures from the seized computer equipment and digital media. 

During the course of the investigation, authorities isolated the IP address of a computer at McDonagh’s residence in September 2010.  Search warrants executed on the residence in October 2010, resulted in the seizure of several computers, external hard drives, digital photo memory cards, and thumb drives.  A preliminary forensic examination on the seized items revealed more than 530 images and 22 video files depicting children under the age of 18 engaged in conduct associated with child pornography. 

McDonagh was arrested on October 25, 2010.  He was arraigned the same day in Hingham District Court where he pleaded not guilty and was ordered held on $1,500 cash bail.  A Plymouth County Grand Jury returned indictments against McDonagh on December 10, 2010.  He was arraigned on January 6, 2011, in Plymouth Superior Court where he pleaded not guilty and was released on $1,500 cash bail.  McDonagh pleaded guilty on January 12, 2012, and was sentenced to State Prison.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Cotter of AG Coakley’s Criminal Bureau. The investigation was conducted by attorneys in AG Coakley’s Cyber Crime Division, and investigators from AG Coakley’s Computer Forensics Lab, Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Attorney General’s Office, Massachusetts State Police ICAC Task Force, with assistance provided by METROLEC, the NEMLEC, the CCLEC, and local police in the communities in which these arrests were made.

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