Thursday August 1, 2013

bRATTLEBORO -- A man who previously admitted to downloading child pornography for several years was sentenced Monday to serve 42 months in federal prison.

Samuel Sergi, 60, of Brattleboro, also will have to register as a sex offender and will undergo treatment and counseling, according to the sentence imposed in U.S. District Court in Rutland.

Sergi previously had pleaded guilty to one count of possessing child pornography.

Authorities said he had been downloading and distributing child pornography using file-sharing software. FBI agents downloaded child-pornography videos from a computer in Sergi's Brattleboro home. Investigators said at least two of the videos found on that computer during an Aug. 7 search depicted torturous acts on prepubescent children.

Sergi was arrested the day of the search and was released on bond.

Defense attorneys later asserted that Sergi's statements to investigators should be suppressed, arguing that he had not been made aware of his rights. But federal prosecutors contended Sergi's statements were given voluntarily and that he knew he was free to leave during questioning. A federal judge in March denied Sergi's motion, and Sergi entered a guilty plea April 9. A charge of distributing child pornography was dismissed by prosecutors.

The prison sentence ordered Monday by Judge Christina Reiss includes a recommendation that Sergi serve his time at Federal Medical Center-Devens in Ayer, Mass.


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If that facility is not available, "the court recommends that he be incarcerated as close to Brattleboro, Vt. as possible," court documents say.

When Sergi leaves prison, he must serve five years of supervised release. The conditions of that release include no firearms possession, mandatory sex-offender registration and mandatory cooperation with collection of DNA as directed by his probation officer.

A probation officer or treatment provider will develop a "computer-use plan" that requires Sergi to "submit a monthly record of Internet use, online screen names, encryption methods and passwords utilized by the defendant."

Until that plan is in effect, Sergi cannot use a computer that has Internet access, court documents say.

Sergi also cannot have contact with anyone under age 18 "except in the presence of a responsible adult who is aware of the nature of the defendant's background and who has been approved in advance by the probation officer," the sentencing order says.

Mike Faher can be reached at mfaher@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.