U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
December 21, 2010
4 INDICTED FOR ONLINE CHILD PORNOGRAPHY AND CHILD EXPLOITATION
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A federal grand jury in Providence has returned indictments charging four individuals with receipt of and possession of child pornography. Two of the defendants also face charges of allegedly distributing child pornography.
Federal indictments against the four were sought by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha as a result of a state and federal multi-agency investigation earlier this year into child exploitation. For several months, members of the Rhode Island State Police Computer Crimes Unit/Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (RI ICAC), in conjunction with the United States Attorney’s Office and the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office, initiated an undercover online investigation dubbed "Operation Safe Child." In August, search warrants were executed at more than twenty Rhode Island residences from which investigators successfully obtained direct Internet downloads of child pornography.
As a result of these downloads, search warrants were obtained and more than 100 federal, state, and local law enforcement personnel consisting of Rhode Island State Police, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), United States Marshals Service (USMS), RI ICAC Task Force affiliates, Naval Criminal Investigative Services (NCIS), and Probation and Parole executed twenty-sixsearch warrants throughout the state. Upon execution of the search warrants, detectives discovered thousands of images of child pornography and videos. Child protective services personnel from the Department of Children Youth and Families (DCYF) and the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC), Day One assisted.
Federal indictments have been returned against Jason Bidondi, 35, of Central Falls; Paul N. Hutchinson, 27, of Barrington; Robert L. Macgregor, 48, of Pawtucket; and Gerard R. Proulx, Jr., 34, of Pawtucket charging each with receiving and possession of child pornography. Bidondi and Macgregor are also charged with distribution of child pornography. The defendants will be summonsed to U.S. District Court in Providence.
The remaining defendants arrested as a result of “Operation Safe Child” are facing charges in Rhode Island state courts.
An indictment is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Rhode Island State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force is a Department of Justice grant-funded program administered by the Rhode Island State Police Computer Crimes Unit, comprised of five State Police detectives, detectives from the Providence Police Department, West Warwick Police Department, Coventry Police Department, and an agent from Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE). The objective of the RI ICAC is to form strong working relationships between local, state and federal law enforcement in order to effectively and efficiently prevent, detect, investigate, and prosecute online child exploitation and child pornography crimes.
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