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Press Release

Burlington Man Arrested for Possessing Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
Defendant allegedly possessed manual “How to Practice Child Love,” and files depicting sexual abuse of boys under 10-years-old

BOSTON – A former civilian employee of the Hanscom Air Force Base was arrested today for possessing thousands of files depicting child pornography, including a manual titled “How to Practice Child Love.”

William Gates, 41, of Burlington, was charged with one count of possession of child pornography. Gates appeared in federal court today and was ordered detained pending a detention hearing scheduled for tomorrow.  

According to the charging document, in November 2017, law enforcement in Boston received information from authorities in Australia about an investigation involving an online personal photo site, known for hosting child pornography. Australian investigators observed a user of the site posting photographs of, and comments regarding, an approximately six-year-old boy on a school bus, who the user identified as a child on a field trip that the user was chaperoning. Australian and U.S. authorities were able to trace the account activity to IP addresses assigned to Gates’s home in Burlington and to Hanscom Air Force Base, where Gates was a civilian employee at the time.

It is alleged that during an interview with law enforcement in early December 2017, Gates admitted that he used his iPhone to take some of the photographs while chaperoning a field trip to the zoo with his son’s elementary school. After Gates provided written consent for the search of certain electronic devices, law enforcement conducted a preliminary exam of two of the defendant’s digital devices and allegedly located approximately 51 images of child pornography. A month later, on Jan. 8, 2018, agents executed a search warrant at Gates’s home, where they found more than 900 child pornography files. Gates was subsequently indicted by a Middlesex grand jury for possession of child pornography.

During the week of Aug. 27, 2018, it is alleged that further forensic analysis of one of Gates’ laptops revealed an encrypted volume, where approximately 2,900 images and 70 videos of child pornography were hidden, as well as a document titled, “How to Practice Child Love,” which purports to serve as a guide to teach adults how to practice sex with children.

The charging statute provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, a minimum of five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was provided by the Burlington Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Anne Paruti, Lelling’s Project Safe Childhood Coordinator and a member of the Major Crimes Unit, is prosecuting the case.

Members of the public who have questions, concerns, or information regarding this case should call 617-748-3274. 

The case is brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated September 6, 2018

Project Safe Childhood