Rutland Man Charged with Production and Possession of Child Pornography
The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that David Hughes, 37, of Rutland, Vermont, was charged by criminal complaint in United States District Court in Burlington, Vermont, with one count of production of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. Hughes was arrested and made his initial appearance to answer the complaint in federal court on December 27, 2018. At the January 2, 2019 hearing on the government’s motion for pretrial detention, U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Conroy granted the motion and ordered Hughes detained without bail pending trial. Hughes is next scheduled to appear in Federal court on January 10, 2019, at 3:00 pm.
According to court records and proceedings, in 2014, the Rutland Police Department investigated a report that Hughes had sexually assaulted a three-year old little girl while playing a game called “Find the kitty.” Hughes was a friend of the family of the victim. The investigation did not result in charges brought against Hughes.
In late November 2018, a family member of the victim in the 2014 case discovered a box in his mother’s basement belonging to Hughes that contained video tapes of child pornography. Specifically, the video tapes showed the 2014 victim and two other minor family members being exploited and sexually assaulted by Hughes. In one of the tapes, Hughes encouraged the three-year victim to pull down her pants as they played a game called “Find the kitty.” In a statement given to Rutland Police Department officers after discovery of the tapes, Hughes admitted to exploiting and sexually assaulting the children depicted in videos. He admitted to producing the videos and explained that he “made the videos so it would keep going on.” Rutland PD officers executed a search warrant at Hughes’ residence. At that time, Hughes identified a desktop computer as belonging to him. Investigators obtained a warrant to search that computer. Approximately nine images of child pornography, including some images depicting infants, were found on that computer during a “preview” search.
Hughes was charged in Vermont Superior Court in Rutland with one count of aggravated sexual assault of a victim less than 13 years old, and one count of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child. Hughes pleaded not guilty to both charges prior to his arrest on federal charges. That case is being prosecuted by Rutland County Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Peter M. Bevere. The lead state investigator is Rutland Police Department Detective Ryan Ashe.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara A. Masterson is handling the Federal prosecution of Hughes. The lead Federal investigator is Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Caitlin Moynihan. Assistant Federal Public Defender Elizabeth K. Quinn represents Hughes.
U.S. Attorney Nolan emphasized that the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. If convicted, Hughes’ sentence will be determined by the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
U.S. Attorney Nolan commended the efforts of the Rutland Police Department, Castleton Police Department, Rutland Unit for Special Investigations at the Child First Advocacy Center, Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Vermont Attorney General’s Office.
U.S. Attorney Nolan 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, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.