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Federal grand jury indicts Houlton customs officer

A federal grand jury indicted a U.S. customs officer from Houlton on one count of possession of child pornography.

The grand jury indicted Larry O’Neal, 44, on Feb. 15, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Bangor.

O’Neal, who is free on bail, pleaded not guilty to the charge. His trial is set to begin on April 23, in the same federal court.

According to court documents, O’Neal is accused of having amassed a large collection of sexually explicit images of children, some of them violent in nature, on his personal computer.

On Jan. 19, 2018, Homeland Security Investigators executed a search at O’Neal’s home where they reported finding a computer tower with several internal and external drives attached. On-scene forensic analysis found several images of child pornography, including images of nude pubescent and pre-pubescent girls performing sex acts and posing naked in sexully explicit positions, according to court documents.

In addition, investigators said they found numerous other images and files indicative of a sexual interest in children on his computer. These include pictures and files celebrating “jailbait” in reference to young girls, as well as images of child erotica. Several of the children in the images have been identified by law enforcement.

According to court document’s, O’Neal’s former fiancée, who used to live with him, saw child pornography on his computer between 2010 and 2012, and confronted him about it. When confronted with these materials, he allegedly became angry. She reported this to authorities around 2012, but investigators did not have enough evidence to proceed at that time.

Homeland Security agents then started investigating O’Neal in early January 2018 when they traced a downloaded file of suspected child pornography to an IP address at his house in Houlton, according to an arrest affidavit.

In defense briefs, attorneys for O’Neal contend that he was a “hoarder” of adult pornography and that he downloaded images from files over the internet. As a result, they contend, he was unaware he was in possession of any child pornography.

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