BOSTON – A former dispatcher for the Lincoln Police Department pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Boston to charges of child pornography.
Spencer Hughes, 33, of Randolph, pleaded guilty to one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography involving a prepubescent minor or a minor who had not attained 12 years of age. U.S. District Court Judge Denise J. Casper scheduled sentencing for May 5, 2022. Hughes was indicted in November 2020.
A search of Hughes’ residence in October 2020 resulted in the recovery of multiple electronic devices and external hard drives. An on-site preliminary forensic examination revealed multiple folders saved to the Hughes’ external hard drive under what appeared to be female names. One folder contained approximately 19 digital files depicting child pornography, including images and videos. This folder included a prepubescent minor female who appeared to be younger than the age of 12 engaged in sexual conduct, among other things. Further analysis of the Hughes’ electronic devices revealed more than 2,200 images and approximately 68 videos of child pornography. Prior to the search, Hughes was employed by the Town of Lincoln Police Department as a dispatcher.
The charge of receipt of child pornography provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and up to 20 years in prison, at least five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of possession of child pornography provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, five years to life 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.
Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell and Matthew B. Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Mackenzie Duane of Mendell’s Major Crimes Unit are prosecuting the case.
The case was 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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.
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