For Immediate Release - April 23, 2009

Former Teacher Sentenced Today In Child Pornography Case

Last Friday afternoon, a Lawrence Superior Court jury found Stephen Surrette, 53, of Swampscott, guilty of three counts of possession of child pornography with intent to distribute, and eight counts of possession of child pornography, following a seven-day trial.

This afternoon in Lawrence Superior Court, Judge Richard E. Welch, III, sentenced Surrette, a former elementary school teacher in Malden, to 60 days in the House of Correction on counts one and two, and five years probation on the remaining counts.

Essex Assistant District Attorney Jana DiNatale had asked for a sentence of 3-5 years in state prison on all of the possession charges, to be followed by 10 years probation on all of the possession with intent to distribute charges. Defense Counsel David Twohig asked the judge to impose 3-5 years probation, with one year on a GPS bracelet

Judge Welch attributed the leniency of the sentence to the defendant's "serious medical condition." Among the letters submitted to the court today were two from doctors indicating that his condition is likely terminal.

As conditions of Surrette's probation, Judge Welch ordered him to be on a GPS bracelet, essentially confining him to his home. He may only leave his home for medical appointments, sex offender treatment and alcohol treatment, and to perform 20 hours a week of community service for a non-profit organization. When he is performing community service, Surrette is not to have unsupervised contact with children under 18.

Judge Welch ordered Surrette to register as a sex offender. He ordered Surrette not to consume alcohol, and made him subject to random screens. In addition, Surrette is not allowed to have a computer in his home or have access to the Internet, possess pornography, or possess any device that could access the Internet.

Finally, he is forbidden to gain any employment in which he would work with children, is to have no unsupervised contact with children under 18 other than his own, and must give a DNA sample for analysis.

Prosecutor DiNatale praised the outstanding work of computer forensic investigator Richard Falanga and State Police Sgt. Thomas Neff of Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett's Computer Crimes Unit, as well as Swampscott Police Detective Ted Delano, Sgt. Timothy Cassidy, and Department of Homeland Security Special Agent Paul Hartigan.

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