COLCHESTER MAN, DEREK THOMAS, SENTENCED TO FIFTEEN YEARS IN PRISON FOR PRODUCING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY USING A REAL VERMONT CHILD
Tristram J. Coffin, the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont, stated that Derek Thomas, 46, of 77 Granite Creek Road, Colchester, Vermont, was sentenced on March 31, 2014 by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Christina Reiss to 15 years in prison for producing child pornography with a real Vermont child. The Court also sentenced Thomas to 8 years of supervised release after he completes his prison term.
According to Court records, in December of 2011, a South Burlington Police Department (“SBPD”) detective assigned to the Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (“ICAC”) discovered that an individual using Internet Protocol (“IP”) address 188.8.131.52 was offering to share child pornography on the Internet using peer-to-peer file sharing software. After the location of the IP address was traced to 77 Granite Creek Road in Colchester, Vermont, Special Agents from Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”) obtained a search warrant for that residence. During the search, two computer forensic examiners assigned to the search team conducted an on-site forensic preview of Derek Thomas’s laptop computer and, on that device, located hundreds of images and videos of child pornography. Thomas was arrested that day, March 2, 2012.
Subsequently, a forensic examiner with the Vermont ICAC discovered thousands of images and videos of child pornography on Thomas’s iPod, iPhone, laptop computer and computer hard drive. The forensic examination of these devices also revealed that Thomas, posing as a teenage boy, had coerced a twelve-year old victim to take sexually explicit videos using a cell phone and to send them to Thomas. Thomas offered the victim gifts in exchange for the videos. He also threatened the victim when the victim failed to comply. The forensic examination of these devices also revealed that Thomas had placed a hidden video camera in the victim’s bathroom. Unwittingly, he videoed himself while he was setting up the camera. The video was located on Thomas’s computer where it had been downloaded by Thomas.
As mentioned above, Thomas was arrested on March 2, 2012. A federal grand jury initially indicted Thomas on March 8, 2013 for possession of child pornography. After the ICAC forensic examiner confirmed that Thomas was producing child pornography, a federal grand jury handed down a superseding indictment on October 25, 2012 which charged two counts of production of child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography. Thomas pled guilty to producing child pornography on December 16, 2013. He has been detained in jail throughout all phases of this prosecution.
Bruce Foucart, Special Agent In Charge of HSI Boston, states, “Sadly, no community is immune to this scourge. HSI remains dedicated to being a leader in the pursuit of these criminals wherever they reside. We will continue to work with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, such as the Vermont ICAC, in order to maximize our collective efforts, and to target these individuals.”
This case was ably investigated by the SBPD, the Vermont ICAC, and HSI. The United States Attorney, Tristram J. Coffin, commends those agencies for their work. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nancy J. Creswell. Thomas was represented by Attorney Elizabeth Mann.