Vt. Child Porn Suspect Is Sentenced To 3 Years

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A child pornography suspect who initially refused to give up his computer password so police could search his laptop was sentenced Friday to three years in prison and deported.

Sebastien D. Boucher, 33, was also ordered to submit to five years of supervised release for his conviction on one count of possession of child pornography transported in interstate or foreign commerce.

Entering the United States from Canada in 2006, Boucher — a Canadian citizen with U.S. residency — was stopped Dec. 17, 2006, at the Derby Line, Vt., checkpoint and asked to show his laptop to an agent.

He waived his Miranda rights and told agents he downloads pornography from news groups and that he sometimes unknowingly acquires images that contain child pornography. But he said he deletes the images when he realizes it.

The border agent saw files “Two year old being raped during diaper change” and “pre teen bondage,” and the computer was seized. But when an when an investigator later tried to access a particular drive, he couldn’t because of password-protected encryption software.

A grand jury subpoenaed Boucher to reveal the password, but a magistrate later said he didn’t have to, since it would have the effect of giving prosecutors the key to get evidence against him.

On Sept. 25, Boucher pleaded guilty and agreed to surrender the password, on condition that what investigators found couldn’t be used against him at sentencing.

According to U.S. Attorney Tristram Coffin, Boucher had a constitutional right not to surrender the password.

Prosecutors already had enough evidence to convict Boucher, but they wanted to examine the contents of the computer’s “Z drive” to see if other crimes had been committed, according to Coffin.

Under the plea, if the government found evidence that he’d produced child pornography, that evidence could be used against him.

Boucher cooperated with the government “by providing information concerning the unlawful activities of others,” according to the plea agreement.

When Boucher finally gave up the password Oct. 19, investigators found 2,000 still images and 118 video files depicting prepubescent children being sexually assaulted by adults, according to Michael Touchette, a computer forensics analyst for the Vermont Department of Corrections who testified Friday at the sentencing.

Touchette said there was no indication the computer had been used in the production or distribution of child pornography, and that he could find nothing on it that indicated where the files and video had come from.

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