Granby Man Sentenced to 8 to 10 Years in State Prison in Connection with Child Pornography and Accessing College Students’ Computers to View, Download Personal Images
NORTHAMPTON – A Granby man has been sentenced to 8 to 10 years in state prison in connection with posing and attempting to pose a child in a state of nudity and distributing and possessing child pornography, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today. The defendant has also been sentenced on charges relating to the unauthorized access of Springfield College students’ computers, email accounts and photos, as well as charges of possessing and improperly storing an unlicensed firearm.
Today, David Linnehan, age 39, was sentenced by Judge Mary-Lou Rupp in Hampshire Superior Court to 8 to 10 years in state prison, with five years of probation to serve upon his release. As conditions of probation, Linnehan must stay away from the victims and various strict conditions on computer use and access to children, among others, were imposed.
“This defendant exploited children and violated the privacy of our college students,” said AG Healey. “It is our duty to protect our most vulnerable residents and to make sure those who harm our children are held accountable.”
On Feb 3., Linnehan pleaded guilty in Hampshire Superior Court to the charges of Posing or Exhibiting a Child in a State of Nudity or Sexual Conduct (2 counts), Attempting to Pose or Exhibit a Child in a State of Nudity or Sexual Conduct, Dissemination of Child Pornography (8 counts), Possession of Child Pornography (11 counts), Unauthorized Access to Computer System (13 counts), Unlicensed Possession of a Firearm, and Unsecured Storage of a Firearm.
In March 2013, Massachusetts State Police assigned to the AG’s Office received information from federal authorities concerning an e-mail account linked to a residence in Granby that they believed was involved in distributing child pornography.
In April 2013, State Police obtained and executed a search warrant for that residence. State Police arrested Linnehan, who was subsequently arraigned in Eastern Hampshire District Court. In January 2014, Linnehan was indicted by a Statewide Grand Jury and was later arraigned in Hampshire Superior Court on the charges.
The investigation revealed that Linnehan stored hundreds of thousands of images and videos of child pornography on computers and other media at home and at his workplace in addition to the files located within his email. Linnehan also distributed child pornography via email.
Authorities sent the information to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for analysis and the results revealed that some of the files possessed by Linnehan depicted the victim known as “Vicky,” to whom Judge Rupp ordered Linnehan to pay $3,900 in restitution at today’s hearing. A victim impact statement from “Vicky” was submitted to the court in which she explained the damaging impact of the defendant’s conduct on her daily life and health.
As the investigation continued, authorities discovered that Linnehan encouraged an out-of-state woman to take and send to him naked photographs of her young daughter. That woman was convicted in California on federal charges and sentenced to 22 years in federal prison. Linnehan also attempted to solicit self-produced, naked images of another minor over the Internet.
Further, forensic evidence revealed that Linnehan abused his position as an IT administrator at Springfield College to gain unauthorized access to students’ computers, school email accounts, and, on at least one occasion, a personal Gmail account. Through this access, Linnehan copied and downloaded private, personal photographs without authorization and stored them on his own computers. The AG’s Office worked with Springfield College to identify and notify all known students affected by this conduct.
Investigators also found an unlicensed, unsecured firearm at Linnehan’s residence.
In November 2013, asserting that victims of child pornography in federal cases should be awarded full restitution, the AG’s Office joined 35 other attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case Paroline vs. Amy Unknown. Under federal law, a victim may seek restitution from someone convicted of possessing images of the victim. Massachusetts law is more favorable than federal law in terms of victims receiving restitution.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Thomas Ralph, Chief of AG Healey’s Cyber Crime Division and Assistant Attorney General Nancy Rothstein, also of the Cyber Crime Division. It was investigated by Massachusetts State Police assigned to the AG’s Office, investigators from the AG’s Digital Evidence Lab, members of the Massachusetts State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and agents from Homeland Security Investigations, with assistance from the Granby Police Department. Springfield College cooperated fully throughout this investigation.