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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 21, 2013

Chemung county man sentenced for possessing child pornography

ROCHESTER, N.Y.--U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Thomas Mehegan, 62, of Elmira, N.Y., who was convicted of possession of child pornography, was sentenced to 72 months in and 12 years supervised release by U.S. District Judge David G. Larimer. Mehegan will also have to register as a sexual offender.

            Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig R. Gestring, who handled the case, stated that Mehegan was identified during a New York State Police online child exploitation investigation. Troopers executed a search warrant at the defendant's Elmira address in 2010 and seized several digital computers and hard drives which contained child pornography. Police then contacted the Elmira Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation which continued the investigation.

            During the investigation, law enforcement learned that, in addition to searching for and downloading images of child pornography, Mehegan also secreted a hidden camera in his home with the intent to surreptitiously record his adult step-daughter breast feeding her infant child. The defendant was convicted of unlawful surveillance in Chemung County for this conduct in 2010 and was recently released from state prison before being taken into federal  custody. A forensic examination of his computers located over 13,000 images of child pornography. Some of the child pornography depicted violence against children as young as three years old.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

           
The sentencing was the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of Federal Bureau of Investigation, Elmira Resident Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Christopher M. Piehota, and Troopers from the New York State Police under the command of Superintendent, Joseph A. D'Amico.