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UPDATE: Barrington Man Pleads Guilty to Production of Child Pornography

A 39-year-old Barrington resident, Thomas Whitney, has pled guilty in federal court to the production of child pornography, U.S. Attorney Scott W. Murray announced recently. Whitney was charged with creating visual depictions of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct using a cell phone. The charges, which involve a 5-year-old child, happened on or before September 19, 2018.Whitney is scheduled to be sentenced on January 13, 2020.

“Mr. Whitney is finally accepting responsibility for his heinous actions – coercing a 5-year-old child into sexually explicit conduct,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, the special agent in charge of the FBI Boston division. “The FBI will continue to do everything in its power to stop children from being exploited and bring to justice those responsible for terrorizing them.”

According to the terms of a plea bargain agreement between Whitney and Assistant U.S. Attorney Anna Krasinski, the prosecuting attorney, Whitney could serve up to 16.5 years in federal prison. With the acceptance of the plea bargain agreement, Whitney has waived his right to both a jury trial and an appeal of the case. A federal judge will determine his final sentence.Whitney remains in custody pending his sentencing hearing.

Whitney will be subject to federal and state sex offender registration requirements when he is released from prison to ensure his current address, employment information, and other relevant personal information are provided to authorities.

According to the City-Data.com website, there are 18 registered sex offenders in Barrington, as of November 16, 2019.You can access the list of offenders and their addresses at their website here: http://www.city-data.com/so/so-Barrington-New-Hampshire.html.

In a recent article in Seacoast Online magazine, the New Hampshire Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) reported 425 investigations and 56 arrests between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019, compared to 202 investigations and 27 arrests during the same time period from 2017 to 2018.

“It is never-ending,” John Peracchi, commander of the New Hampshire Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force reportedly said. “The number of investigations we’ve had, the number of arrests we’ve had, all increased by more than 100%. We have search warrants backed up, ready to go.”

A September 2019 NY Times article notes an even more alarming nationwide statistic.“Last year, tech companies reported over 45 million online photos and videos of children being sexually abused — more than double what they found the previous year.” The article notes that despite the passage of federal legislation to combat child sexual abuse in 2008 (The Protect our Children Act of 2008), the prevalence of these images have overwhelmed law enforcement efforts to identify and prosecute the perpetrators.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), which is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Justice, reports receiving over 42.9 million reports of suspected child sexual abuse as of November 2018.NCMEC provides educational materials to help educate children and families about how to protect themselves at two websites: Netsmartz (https://www.missingkids.org/NetSmartz ) and KidSmartz (https://www.kidsmartz.org/). NCMEC also operates a Cyber Tipline for the public to report incidents of suspected child sexual exploitation at https://report.cybertip.org/.