West Topsham Man Arraigned for Possession of Child Pornography
Burlington, VT – The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont, stated that on February 16, 2012, Foster E. Phelps, 38, of West Topsham, Vermont, pleaded not guilty in United States District Court to a single-count indictment charging him with possessing images of child pornography. Magistrate Judge John M. Conroy ordered Phelps released to the supervision of the United States Probation Office. Phelps' will be subject to electronic monitoring and was ordered to have no contact with minors under the age of 18.
According to court records, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies executed a search warrant at Phelps' West Topsham residence on February 2, 2012. While executing the warrant, agents found multiple images of children under the age of 18 engaged in sexually explicit conduct. If convicted, Phelps faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. United States Attorney Tristram J. Coffin emphasized that the charges contained in the indictment are accusations only and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty.
United States Attorney Coffin commended the efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Vermont State Police for their work in this case. The prosecutor is Assistant United States Attorney Timothy C. Doherty, Jr. The defendant is represented by David McColgin from the Federal Public Defender's Office.
The United States Attorney noted that this prosecution is part of the U.S. Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorney's Offices and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.