United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
FINDINGS AND ORDER ON DEDFENDANT'S MOTION TO
TIMOTHY S. HILLMAN DISTRICT JUDGE
Defendant Stephen Mantha (“Mantha”) is charged
with sexual exploitation of a child in violation of 18 U.S.C.
2251(a), access with intent to view child pornography in
violation of 18 U.S.C. 2252(a)(5)(B), and with possession of
child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2252(a)(5)(B). He
has moved to suppress from the introduction into evidence
against him at trial, all evidence obtained as the result of
a search of his home that was conducted pursuant to a search
warrant on September 21, 2016. For the reasons set forth
below the Defendant's Motion is denied.
2015, investigators from the United States Postal Service
began an investigation into a postal service employee who was
assigned an employee username of “XQ8PC0”. The
possessor of that username was suspected of having conducted
searches for child pornography on the postal service network.
That username was assigned to the defendant Mantha. Internet
log activity indicated that between February 2015 and May
2015 searches for child pornography at a particular
workstation at the United States Postal Service facility in
Shrewsbury, Massachusetts had been conducted by that
August of 2015, a computer activity recorder was installed on
that computer which revealed that from August 14, 2015 to
November of 2015, numerous websites depicting pre-teen, nude,
female children were accessed by the defendant Mantha. In
January of 2016, investigators installed video recording
equipment which directed a camera at the computer where
Mantha was conducting searches for child pornography. Between
February 5, 2016 and May 10, 2016 Mantha was observed on
camera, and by a special agent for the United States Postal
Service, viewing child pornography on at least eight
occasions. In addition, review of data captured by the
computer monitoring software revealed that Mantha continued
to search for internet sites likely to contain images of nude
children through September 7, 2016.
September 19, 2016 the United States Postal Service applied
for, and received a search warrant for Mantha's personal
residence. That search revealed an extensive child
pornography collection and a video tape in which Mantha is
masterbating a pre-pubescent boy. Mr. Mantha seeks to
suppress the evidence seized at his personal residence.
defendant argues that the affidavit in support of the
application for the search warrant lacks any factual
allegations that would establish a nexus between the
Defendant's conduct at work and the presence of the
fruits of criminal conduct at his home. Quite simply, the
defendant argues that it was unreasonable for the issuing
Magistrate Judge to infer that an individual who accessed
child pornography via the internet a work, would access child
pornography at home. The Government argues that the affidavit
in support of the search warrant established that Mantha
utilized the internet to seek out and view child pornography
while at work, had done so extensively over a significant
period of time, and that he had internet access at home.
Further, the affiant/postal inspector related that, in his
experience, it was reasonable that individuals who seek out
materials depicting the sexual exploitation of children would
be accessing child pornography from their home
computer. United States v. Clark, 668 F.3rd
934 (7th Cir. 2012) and United States v.
Watzman, 486 F.3rd 1004, 1008, (7th Cir.
2007). “an issuing judge may reasonably assume that a
recipient or collector of child pornography, would store that
content in his home, ” United States v. Clark,
supra @ 943.
affiant supplies ample information that the defendant was a
dedicated and persistent child pornography viewer. Further,
at considerable personal risk the defendant accessed the
materials on a workstation that he knew was monitored by his
employer. The affiants training, background, and experience
investigating child pornography for several law enforcement
agencies is detailed in the affidavit. Also detailed in the
affidavit are references made by the affiant that “. .
. individuals who repeatedly access and view child
pornography by means of computer will do so on any available
computer. Such individuals will not limit such activities to,
for example, a workplace computer, but will seek out and view
such images on home computers as well”. (Affidavit in
support of application for search warrant. Paragraph 29)
affiant also adds that such individuals almost always possess
and maintain their hard copies of child pornographic material
. . . in the privacy and security of their home or some other
secure, yet easily accessible, location. . . . (Affidavit
that it is reasonable to infer from Defendant's workplace
conduct that there was more than a fair probability that
child pornography would be found in his home and that special
agent Martineau's affidavit does establish the requisite
probable cause to believe the defendant had pornographic
material on an unmonitored computer in his own home.
Accordingly, I deny the defendant's Motion to Suppress.