For Immediate Release - December 18, 2012

Georgetown Man Pleads Guilty, Sentenced to Prison for Possessing and Distributing Child Pornography

SALEM – A Georgetown man has been sentenced to four to nine years in state prison after pleading guilty to a 21-count indictment for possessing and distributing child pornography on his computer, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today. 

Timothy Vaters, age 44, pleaded guilty Monday in Essex Superior Court to Possession of Child Pornography (10 counts), Dissemination of Child Pornography (3 counts), Posing a Child in a State of Nudity (3 counts), Unauthorized Video/Photo of a Person in State of Nudity (4 counts), and Possession of Marijuana.

Vaters has also been sentenced to five years of probation to be served after prison. The conditions of probation are GPS monitoring, sex offender counseling, no unsupervised contact with children under 16, restricted computer use, and registration with the Sex Offender Registry Board.

“Our office is committed to protecting children from exploitation and we will continue to prosecute offenders of these crimes,” AG Coakley said. “This defendant pleaded guilty to 21 indictments for his involvement with child pornography, a serious and disturbing offense, and will be serving time in state prison.”

The charges stem from an investigation referred to the Attorney General’s Office by law enforcement officials in Canada in February 2011. According to authorities, an online investigation was conducted on a computer system offering suspected child pornography images over a file-sharing network traced to an Internet Protocol (IP) address in Massachusetts.  Following the referral, State Police assigned to the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office continued the investigation and traced the IP address to Vaters’ residence. 

In March 2011, investigators executed a search warrant at Vaters’ residence for depictions of child pornography. This resulted in the seizure of various forms of computer equipment and approximately 130 grams of marijuana. The search also resulted in the seizure of a mini camera. Authorities allege that the camera had been strategically placed in private locations to videotape others. Vaters was subsequently arrested. 

On March 17, Vaters was arraigned in Haverhill District Court at which time he pleaded not guilty and was ordered held on $10,000 bail. Subsequent investigation of the computers, hard drive, and related media revealed a substantial quantity of image and video files containing suspected child pornography and significant evidence of distribution using peer-to-peer network technology. An Essex County Grand Jury returned indictments against Vaters on June 24. Vaters was arraigned on July 6 in Essex Superior Court at which time he entered a plea of not guilty.    

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Christopher Kelly of AG Coakley’s Cyber Crime Division.  Members of the Attorney General’s Victim Witness Advocate Division played a significant role in the investigation and prosecution. The case was investigated by Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Attorney General’s Office upon referral from the Saskatchewan, Canada Child Exploitation Unit.  The Attorney General’s Digital Evidence Laboratory conducted an extensive forensic analysis of the evidence seized in the investigation.

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