SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

January 26, 2013

Peabody man admits to downloading, sharing child porn

BY JULIE MANGANIS
STAFF WRITER

---- — PEABODY — A Peabody man who, according to his lawyer, sought refuge from marital difficulties and social awkwardness in “a strange world in the dark” pleaded guilty yesterday to possessing and distributing child pornography.

Barry Bushway, 49, was sentenced to serve six months of a 21/2 year jail term, followed by eight years of probation, during a hearing yesterday in Salem Superior Court. Bushway was also barred from unsupervised contact with children under 18 and unsupervised use of a computer, and will have to wear a GPS bracelet and register as a sex offender when he’s released.

“These are horrific images, and there are way too many silent victims, these children, who wouldn’t suffer without the demand,” said Judge David Lowy.

The images were discovered on computers and external drives found in Bushway’s Tumelty Road home following a search early on the morning of Oct. 25, 2010.

A state police investigator in Pennsylvania who was looking into child pornography being distributed on “peer-to-peer” computer programs like Limewire noticed one photo of a girl, about 4 or 5 years old, photographed from the waist down, said assistant attorney general Marina Moriarty.

The Limewire user who had offered that photo indicated that he had some 5,000 files that could be downloaded from his home computer.

The Internet address of the computer was traced to Bushway, and state police in Massachusetts got a warrant to search the home.

During questioning, Bushway initially denied that he’d done anything wrong, then confessed, telling the troopers that he initially downloaded the child porn by accident as he was searching for adult pornography, Moriarty told the judge. Soon, Bushway told police, he realized that he was excited by the “danger.”

At one point, said the prosecutor, he deleted the images, after his wife had confronted him, but subsequently re-downloaded it, making backup copies on an external hard drive and setting up a virtual machine, a “computer within a computer,” to hide the thousands of still images and more than 100 videos, the prosecutor said.

On the morning police showed up at their home, his wife told them “I told him to stop downloading that (expletive),” said the prosecutor.

All of the images were available to other users of the file sharing services, and had file names that were commonly used to search for child pornography, including “Lolilta” and a designation for pre-teen “hardcore” images, said the prosecutor. At the time police seized the computers, they discovered later, seven Limewire users were downloading images from Bushway’s hard drive.

Some of the images depicted the rape of children, she said. The investigators also found approximately 3,000 images of adult pornography, which is legal.

“This is a case where the defendant admits he went and sought out thousands of images, including images of children being raped,” said the prosecutor, who urged a state prison term of three to five years.

Moriarty expressed concern about whether Bushway understands that his actions were wrong, citing a psychological evaluation and a letter Bushway himself wrote to the judge, in which he appears to still be in denial.

Lowy shared those concerns, noting that the letter from Bushway indicated that the downloads were an accident, and that Bushway didn’t understand what he did wrong.

Jeffrey Denner, Bushway’s attorney, argued that his client is simply someone “painfully unable to express himself,” but who has come to realize over the past two years that his actions were wrong. “It’s been an unfolding process,” said Denner, who was urging the judge to impose probation and house arrest.

“He always knew it was wrong, morally, legally, and in every other way,” said Denner.

“Forgetting about all this today, this is a very fine man,” said Denner, noting Bushway’s family support, the fact that he had held the same job, working on the mainframe computer for Stop and Shop for more than 30 years, and his lack of a prior record.

Denner said his client was a man who struggled to form relationships with others, and who was dealing with the strain of a family tragedy on his marriage when he turned to pornography on the Internet.

Lowy said he was concerned that Bushway had tried in his letter to minimize his behavior.

“Did you understand, sir, that when you had this material on your computer that other human beings, because of your file sharing, would be able to view this as well?” asked the judge.

“I understand it better today than when it happened,” Bushway replied.

Bushway, who has been free on bail since shortly after his arrest, was put into handcuffs in the courtroom as family members watched.

He’ll be eligible for parole in three months.

Lowy warned Bushway that if he violates his probation, he could face a 10-year minimum mandatory term on the charge of distributing child pornography.

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