September 25, 2018
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Maine customs officer indicted on child porn charge

By Callie Ferguson, BDN Staff
Updated:

A U.S. customs officer in Houlton faces a federal child pornography charge.

Larry O’Neal, 44, was indicted on Feb. 15 for one felony count of possession of child pornography, according to documents filed in federal court.

He is accused of having amassed a large collection of sexually explicit images of children, some of them violent in nature, on his personal computer, according to documents.

He pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in Bangor on Feb. 22.

CBP spokeswoman Stephanie Malin declined to comment on the case, but said the agency “is fully cooperating with the FBI and [Department of Homeland Security] Office of the Inspector General regarding this investigation.”

Homeland Security agents started investigating O’Neal in early January when they traced a downloaded file of suspected child pornography to an IP address at his house in Houlton, according to an arrest affidavit. The agency frequently investigates child pornography cases because the material often crosses international borders via the internet, as in O’Neal’s case, according to a criminal complaint.

He was arrested on Jan. 19, the day agents obtained a warrant and searched his Pearce Avenue home and Subaru.

They found a computer and an external drive that contained both child and adult pornography, including images of girls between the ages of about 12 and 14 performing sex acts and posing naked in sexully explicit positions, according to the affidavit.

While the search was taking place, Special Agent Edward Ainsworth interviewed O’Neal at his workplace.

O’Neal told the agent he downloaded the pornography from the internet and that he searched for it using terms such as “young,” “rape” and “teen hardcore,” according to the affidavit.

Investigators found no evidence that O’Neal ever stored the pornography on his work computer or used government property, according to the documents.

O’Neal hung up on a BDN reporter when called at his home.

He was released on bail conditions several days after his arrest and is next set to appear in U.S. District Court in Bangor on June 6 to begin trial proceedings.

If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison and fine of up to $250,000, and would be required to register as a sex offender.

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Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated Larry O’Neal’s job title. He is a U.S. customs officer, not a border patrol agent.


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