EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

July 25, 2013

Beverly man accused of selling child porn on Amazon

By Julie Manganis
Staff Writer

---- — A Beverly man who allegedly admitted to investigators that he sold approximately $60,000 worth of child pornography as an independent seller on Amazon is facing federal charges.

Stanton Hager, 66, had been living at the Garden City Towers, a Beverly Housing Authority building on Sohier Road across from Briscoe Middle School, until his arrest in May.

Now, he’s being held in federal custody, without bail, facing charges of possession and attempted distribution of child pornography, according to court papers. Prosecutors had sought to hold him without bail because they believe he poses a danger if released, according to court papers.

Police said that during questioning, Hager, a former college professor, admitted that he is sexually attracted to boys between the ages of 12 and 16, though he denied that he had ever acted on that attraction.

A document filed Friday in connection with the case indicates that Hager’s attorney and prosecutors are currently negotiating a possible resolution of the case.

Hager’s activities came to light in April when a postal employee in Atlanta mistakenly placed a package intended for a Georgia man into the mailbox of a bank.

A worker in the bank’s mail room opened the package and discovered printed pornographic images of children, according to an affidavit by a postal inspector. The items included a magazine about “boy-love,” four images showing boys engaging in sexual activity, a dozen other images of naked boys, and a handwritten note to the buyer offering the material “on approval.”

“If you decide to keep it, please send a check for $180. Enclosed also — surprise!” The note was signed by Hager, according to the affidavit.

The return address on the package identified Hager by name and address.

Investigators also learned that Hager had been identified as a customer of an overseas business that was suspected of distributing child pornography, including videos. Hager’s name also turned up in correspondence found at the home of a Mississippi man whose home was searched for child porn.

An Internet search also led investigators to the website Alibris, which sells used and rare books.

Hager’s online profile indicated that he specialized in “boy-love — in fiction, nonfiction, photobooks, photomagazines, CD-Roms, portfolios, etc.”

Dorothy Davis, a marketing manager for Alibris, said their policies “clearly prohibit the listing and sale of this kind of material.”

“This seller’s account has been terminated consistent with our policies,” Davis said in an emailed statement.

Amazon did not respond to an email request for comment prior to yesterday’s Salem News deadline.

On both his Amazon and Alibris pages, Hager received positive reviews from customers; he had a rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars on Amazon, according to his seller profile page.

On the morning of May 16, federal agents, postal inspectors and police, armed with a search warrant, showed up at Hager’s apartment.

According to an affidavit in the case, Hager admitted selling images of child pornography and what he termed “child erotica” on Amazon for more than five years, and to selling similar items on Alibris for nine to 12 months, before Alibris informed him that his items were “inappropriate” and removed them from the site.

Hager also admitted sending the package to Georgia, according to the affidavit.

Hager allegedly said that while he knows child pornography is illegal, “the government has no right to come into his home and take his pictures.”

He also said he was “not hurting anyone” and believed he could share the images with friends or customers.

Hager is identified in several online profiles, including his own LinkedIn page, as a translator of classic Chinese and ancient Latin poetry and a former English professor at the University of Colorado, who holds degrees from McGill University in Montreal and Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

His court-appointed attorney did not return a call seeking comment.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.