SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

April 10, 2013

Danvers man faces child porn charges

BY JULIE MANGANIS
STAFF WRITER

---- — DANVERS — The daughter of a Danvers man, just re-establishing a relationship with her father after an eight-year estrangement, made a jarring discovery while using his computer Friday night, police say.

Now, Michael R. Silva, 52, of 6 Toomey St. is facing child pornography charges, after police say he confessed to having some 30 images of young girls in explicit poses on his computer.

An investigation is ongoing, prosecutor Patrick Collins told a Salem District Court judge yesterday during Silva’s arraignment on two counts of possession of child pornography. More charges could be filed after police complete a forensic examination of the computer, Collins told Judge Sabita Singh.

Over the weekend, Silva’s daughter and ex-wife went to Gloucester police to report what the girl had seen when she tried to use Silva’s computer to log into her Facebook account Friday night, during a visit to Silva’s home.

The girl told police that she and her friend closed several open screens, including a computer solitaire game and two open Web pages, and that they then saw “thumbnail” images that looked like child pornography.

The girl said that they clicked on two of the thumbnails, revealing the full-size images of naked young girls in explicit poses, according to a police report. The girls then called their parents and asked to be picked up. They reported what they had seen to a Gloucester police detective, who in turn contacted Danvers police.

On Monday, Danvers police Detective Robert Sullivan got a search warrant for the computer and went to Silva’s home. Silva agreed to be questioned and confessed that he had been receiving and sending the images through Yahoo instant messages and emails, according to the prosecutor.

Silva claimed initially that he was interested in images of teenage girls around 14 or 15, but when confronted with images from his computer that showed girls half that age, Silva acknowledged that he is “mostly curious” about younger girls.

Asked whether he is attracted to women or girls, Silva, who is married, according to the police report, said he is interested in both, though he said he has never touched a child and only looks at pictures of girls.

Following the interview, he was arrested.

During Silva’s arraignment yesterday, his attorney, Neil Hourihan, argued for a lower cash bail than the $10,000 being sought by Collins.

Hourihan said that Silva’s strong ties to the community, including eight years at the same employer, suggest that he is not a flight risk.

But Singh set bail at $10,000 cash, which he is expected to post.

Silva has been ordered to have no contact with children, including the witnesses in the case, while the case is pending.

A probable cause hearing is scheduled for May 2.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.