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July 7, 2014

No jail for Ipswich man in child porn case

IPSWICH — An Ipswich man won’t have to serve any jail time for possessing and disseminating child pornography through an online file-sharing service, a Salem Superior Court judge decided on Monday.

Brandon Furr, 22, of 18 Southern Heights, told state police investigators after his arrest that he knew he had a problem and that what he was doing was “wrong and disgusting,” prosecutor John Brennan said during the hearing before Judge Maynard Kirpalani.

Kirpalani instead imposed three years of supervised probation, including a GPS monitoring bracelet, an order that Furr not use the Internet except for work or school, and an order that he have no unsupervised contact with children under 16. He will also be required to undergo sex offender treatment.

Brennan had urged the judge to sentence Furr to one to three years in state prison, saying Furr’s actions, like those of others who view child pornography, re-victimize children who have already suffered “horrific, ongoing abuse.”

But Kirpalani said that while he agrees with the prosecutor that child pornography “is a crime that affects the most vulnerable members of our society,” he doesn’t think Furr, who pleaded guilty to three counts of possessing child pornography and one count of disseminating child pornography, poses any danger.

“I am satisfied Mr. Furr has demonstrated a degree of impulse control,” the judge said. “I conclude he does not present a risk of appreciable harm if not incarcerated.”

The judge also expressed confidence in the ability of the Sex Offender Registry Board to supervise Furr, who will have to register with that agency.

State police were investigating the sharing of child pornography on so-called “peer to peer” file-sharing sites, which allow users to trade computer files.

A state trooper who was watching the site in September 2012 noticed one “host” computer with an Internet address that indicated it was in Massachusetts, Brennan said.

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