EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

November 21, 2012

N.H. Supreme Court upholds child porn convictions

A former Timberlane Middle School teacher has lost his appeal of child pornography convictions before the state’s highest court.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that it upheld Scott Buatti’s convictions on possession of child pornography.

Buatti, who was sentenced in June 2011, to two to four years in state prison, had been free on bail pending his appeal. A jury deliberated just three hours in April 2011, before finding him guilty on 20 child pornography-related charges, 10 charges of possession of child pornography and 10 of attempting to posses child pornography.

In his appeal, Buatti argued the search warrant for his home computer was not supported by probable cause. He also argued the trial court erred in denying his motion for a directed verdict, in denying his motion to quash indictments and in its jury instructions.

But the state Supreme Court disagreed and affirmed his convictions.

Buatti was arrested in February 2008, put on administrative leave at Timberlane in April 2009, after he was indicted, then later resigned.

Buatti, 45, came to the attention of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents as one of 18 paid subscribers to a website containing child pornography. While Buatti denied being a subscriber during his trial, he had registered with his own email address and used his Newton, N.H., address when he paid $79.95 to join the site.

During his trial, Buatti acknowledged looking at adult pornography online, but denied ever knowingly looking at child pornography. He said viruses on his computer might have been to blame for the pornographic files found on it.

“I know that as I surfed around the net looking for adult pornography, there’s some weird stuff that pops up,” Buatti testified. “I may have seen child porn, but I did not look at it.”

But federal agents and members of a regional child pornography task force disagreed.

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