EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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January 15, 2008

Two local men indicted in child porn case

BRENTWOOD - Two local men have been indicted on charges of possessing child pornography as part of a statewide sweep last spring that ended with more than a dozen arrests.



Charles Shuh, 63, of Rockrimmon Road in Kingston and Ryan St. Jean, 19, of Hampstead both face three counts of child pornography handed down by a Rockingham County grand jury. A third local man caught in the sweep, David Curtis, 42, of Derry was indicted last year and intends to plead guilty, according to court documents.



Yesterday's indictments come eight months after the state attorney general made public a monthslong investigation into the trading of photos and videos of child sexual abuse. Police executed 40 search warrants and filed nine juvenile petitions during the investigation.



Police found three files on Shuh's home computer which were downloaded between October 2006 and February 2007. Three files of child pornography also were found on St. Jean's computer on Feb. 28, according to the indictments.



Assistant County Attorney Brad Bolton said the cases against Shuh and St. Jean are not related, but were both investigated by the Northern New England Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.



The group has 20 law enforcement agencies, including several local police departments, county sheriffs, state police and members of the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Postal Service. Derry and Pelham have officers on the task force.



As part of last year's sweep, task force investigators used techniques that allow them to backtrack how child pornography is saved on a personal computer.



"They find these computers, who owns them," Bolton said.



The cases are also built upon who had possession or access to the computer when the pornography was allegedly downloaded.



One such technique includes being able to backtrack pictures and videos of child pornography that are being shared on peer-to-peer computer networks, according to police.



Such programs are better known to computer users for downloading music or photographs. Yet in recent years, they also have become a favorite method for users and creators of child pornography, said Keene police Detective James McLaughlin, who has investigated thousands of child pornography cases.



McLaughlin was the first in New Hampshire to develop a task force that focused on child pornography and soliciting minors online in the 1990s. Years before that, he used to track child pornographers who would exchange photos by mail.



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