BRATTLEBORO -- A former employee of the Bellows Falls/Rockingham Public Works Department was sentenced Monday to 18 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to one count of possessing child pornography.

According to a press release for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Vermont, Daniel Gay, 41, of Springfield, was also ordered to serve a five-year term of supervised release when his 18 months in prison is completed.

Gay was arrested June 28, 2013, for felony level possession and promotion of child pornography. He was originally charged with three counts of promoting a recording of an underaged individual and four counts of possession of child pornography. He was first charged in Vermont Superior Court Windsor Criminal Division and released on an unsecured $100,000 appearance bond after pleading not guilty to the charges. Prosecution of the case was later handed off to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

United States Attorney Tristam Coffin commended the work of the Vermont Attorney General's Office and the Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which first identified Gay on March 20, 2013, during a review of a peer-to-peer file sharing network that has been used to share child pornography.

Det. Matthew Raymond, an investigator for the task force, was able to download child pornography video recordings from an IP address later identified as belonging to Gay. The recordings depicted adults engaging in sexual acts with children ranging between 5 years old and 10 years old. On April 29 and June 11, Raymond downloaded a number of other child pornography videos from Gay's IP address, all of them containing acts similar to those in the videos downloaded on March 20.

On June 25, Raymond was granted a search warrant of Gay's home at 79.5 Elm Hill Street in Springfield. A short time later, Gay returned from work to his home where he was met by investigators. After being told he was not under arrest and did not have to speak with them, Gay disclosed he had less than 50 files of child pornography on his desktop computer. He also told investigators that the youngest child depicted in the files was between 3 and 4 years old. Gay then disclosed that he had thumb drives with tens of thousands of images of child pornography. According to the Attorney General's Office, there was no evidence Gay himself produced any of the child pornography he downloaded and shared on the Internet.

Prior to working for Bellows Falls/Rockingham, Gay was employed with the Vermont Department of Corrections and the U.S. Postal Service.

Gay's prosecution was part of the U.S. Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. For more information, visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

Bob Audette can be reached at raudette@reformer.com, or at 802-254-2311, ext. 160. Follow Bob on Twitter @audette.reformer.