Former Bus Monitor Arraigned For Child Porn In Superior Court

by | May 9, 2014

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Kent County Courthouse in Warwick.

Former East Greenwich bus monitor Scott Sanford, 36, was arraigned in Kent County Superior Court Friday on charges of possessing and transmitting child pornography, both felonies. He was arrested Oct. 31, 2013, at his home on Moosehorn Road by R.I. State Police, which completed its investigation in April.

According to the state police report, Jamestown Police Detective Derek Carlino, of the state Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, began investigating different computer IP (internet protocol) addresses linked to downloads of child pornography in August 2013. One of those IP addresses came back to a Cox Communication customer who turned out to be Sanford’s father-in-law, with whom Sanford and his wife were living.

On Oct. 31, state police executed a search warrant of the house on Moosehorn. Sanford offered to speak with the officers. During questioning, he admitted to viewing, downloading and sharing child pornography using a file-sharing program.

The type of program he used, Ares, is what’s known as a peer-to-peer file-sharing network. According to a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, these programs – which enable direct communication between users, allowing users to access each other’s files and share digital music, images, and video – have become very popular with people interested in child pornography.

Sanford was arrested then arraigned in District Court on the two child pornography charges.

At the time, Sanford, his wife and his mother-in-law all worked for Ocean State Transit, which provides school bus transportation for East Greenwich schools. Sanford worked as a bus monitor. Ocean State Transit fired Sanford soon after his arrest; his wife and mother-in-law were put on leave and later left OST without returning to work.

When someone is charged with a felony in Rhode Island, he is initially arraigned in District Court on police charges. The Attorney General’s office then needs to determine if there’s enough evidence to bring felony charges forward in Superior Court.

In Sanford’s case, the state police first had to complete a several-month-long forensic analysis of the computer equipment in Sanford’s possession: a computer, three hard drives and assorted SD cards (small flash memory drives).

According to the police report, the analyst found “multiple deleted file names consistent with child pornography” and two deleted child porn videos on an SD card featuring young girls engaged in sex acts with adult men.

Following arraignment in Superior Court Friday, Sanford was allowed to remain free on $10,000 personal recognizance bail. He continues to be barred from using the Internet. Sanford’s next court date – for a pretrial conference June 11 – will be rescheduled, a court officer said Friday, because Sanford’s attorney had a conflict.

In the transcript of the interview between Sanford and police on Oct. 31 (included in the recently released state police report), he initially said he had downloaded child porn by mistake.

“Once I found out what some of it was, I – I took it off my computer, ‘cause I was like, I can’t deal with this,” he said.

He said movies he thought he was downloading – “The Amazing Spiderman” and “Hotel Transylvania” – were instead child porn.

When asked why he didn’t report the instances to police, Sanford said, “I guess, I just, it never occurred to me to report it.”

As questioning continued, Sanford admitted he’d downloaded child porn purposefully.

“But then there was a couple of times curiosity got me, just because of the title,” he said. “It doesn’t mean that I was gonna go out and do it.”

He also said, “I don’t look at kids, I swear to God, in that way. I don’t. It was just curiosity.”

When police asked about Sanford’s work as a bus monitor, he said he was a bus monitor because he had back problems.

“This is the only job I have to do that’s … easier on my back,” he said. When asked if he had ever touched children, he said no.

“No. I don’t. I swear to God. I don’t,” he said. “I don’t want to molest ‘em, I swear.”

When police pressed him, suggesting that his “curiosity” about child porn could lead to other things, Sanford said, “Well, the kids on the bus, they’re like family to me, so I don’t go after family. You know.”

He said he didn’t go after people not in his family either. He told police there was no child porn on his computer because he’d deleted it but said he’d looked at child porn “four times accidentally, and probably about ten times just out of curiosity.”

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