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Press Release

Burlington Man Sentenced for Possessing Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
Defendant possessed document titled “How to Practice Child Love,” and more than 5,000 images and 440 videos depicting sexual abuse of children

BOSTON – A former civilian employee of the Hanscom Air Force Base was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Boston in connection with possessing thousands of files depicting child pornography, including a manual titled “How to Practice Child Love.”

William Gates, 41, of Burlington, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Leo T. Sorokin to 30 months in prison and five years of supervised release. In April 2019, Gates pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography.

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 they were 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.

A search of two of his digital devices revealed approximately 51 images of child pornography. More than 900 child pornography files were recovered during a search of Gates’s home. He was subsequently indicted by a Middlesex grand jury for possession of child pornography.  Further forensic analysis of one of Gates’ laptops revealed an encrypted volume, where approximately 5,000 images and 440 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 have sex with children.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Jason Molina, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was provided by the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office and the Burlington Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Anne Paruti, Lelling’s Project Safe Childhood Coordinator and a member of the Major Crimes Unit, prosecuted the case.

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

Updated December 12, 2019

Project Safe Childhood