BOSTON - A North Billerica, Mass., man was charged in federal court with possession of child pornography following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
U. S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Bruce Foucart, special agent in charge of ICE's Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Boston, announced today that Lawrence Follett, 46, of North Billerica, was charged in a criminal complaint with possession of child pornography.
The complaint alleges that on or about June 24, 2009, Follett knowingly possessed matter which contained visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. According to court documents, Follett had previously been employed as a 4th grade teacher at the Blanchard Memorial School in Town of Boxborough, Mass., and also worked during the summer at Camp Moosilauke, a New Hampshire summer residential camp for boys.
"ICE aggressively uses its investigative authorities to protect our communities from those who seek to sexually exploit the most vulnerable members of our society - our children," said Foucart. "ICE will continue to work tirelessly to identify these child predators who mistakenly believe the Internet shields them from detection."
"We have an obligation to ensure that individuals who hold positions of trust in our community are held accountable for their actions," said Ortiz. "The alleged conduct in this case is unacceptable, particularly for an individual who is entrusted to teach children." If convicted on these charges, Follett faces up to 10 years imprisonment, followed by up to lifetime supervised release and a $250,000 fine.
The case was investigated by ICE and INTERPOL of Berne, Switzerland. Significant assistance was provided by the Billerica and Boxborough Police Departments, as well as the Boxborough School Department.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 12,800 individuals.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.