BENNINGTON >> A Manchester Center man is accused of downloading, and letting others download, child pornography.
Michael Holden, 27, pleaded not guilty Friday in Vermont Superior Court Criminal Division to three felony counts of promote sexual recording, and one felony count of possession of child pornography.
He was released without bail under a number of conditions while the case is pending, among them that he live in Bennington County, not have contact with anyone under 16, not access the Internet, possess any device that can access the Internet, and not be around places where children congregate.
The case was investigated by Detective Matthew Raymond, a criminal investigator for the Vermont Office of the Attorney General. The AG is also prosecuting the case.
Raymond wrote that in November 2015 he was able to use a peer-to-peer file sharing network to download child pornography from a certain Internet protocol address (IP address). Through an investigation, he was able to determine the IP address was for a Fairpoint account registered at a home where Holden lived. Police obtained enough information to be granted a search warrant. On Aug. 4 of this year, they went to the home and found no one there. Police broke a window pane on the front door and entered that way, seizing a number of electronic items as well as a homemade Ouija board with the words "rape, torture, bondage" written on it.
Child pornography was found on some of the devices seized. They depicted children, some as young as four, in states of undress performing sex acts with adults.
Police learned Holden was away on vacation and were able to reach him by phone.
Holden admitted to police that he downloaded child pornography, but never produced it. He said he began doing this at a young age when he lived somewhere else. He told police that he believed others were able to download the files he had downloaded, but he was not completely sure how the file sharing programs worked.
— Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at 802-447-7567 Ext. 115