SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

January 15, 2014

Beverly man admits to child porn charges

Hager faces up to 20 years in federal prison

BY JULIE MANGANIS
STAFF WRITER

---- — BEVERLY — A Beverly man who at the time was living across the street from a middle school pleaded guilty yesterday to selling child pornography on the websites Amazon and Alibris.

Stanton Hager, 67, is scheduled to be sentenced on April 9 and faces at least five years and up to 20 years in federal prison, federal prosecutors said yesterday.

He will remain held without bail, after prosecutors disclosed in court that they believe Hager has had sexual contact with children in Thailand.

During yesterday’s hearing, prosecutors revealed that a diary kept by Hager, found in his apartment during a search, referred to a trip to Thailand where he engaged in sexual acts with children. Hager described one as an 11-year-old boy. Because of that, prosecutors argued that Hager is too dangerous to release.

Investigators have not reported receiving any complaints of sexual misconduct in Beverly.

Hager was arrested and charged last May, after an investigation that was triggered by a piece of misdirected mail. At the time, he was living at Garden City Towers, a subsidized apartment complex across from Briscoe Middle School.

A package that Hager had addressed to a man in Atlanta accidentally ended up in the post office box of a bank there. And employee in the bank’s mailroom opened the package and found numerous images of adolescent boys, along with a note indicating that the items were being sent “on approval” and would cost $180. The employee contacted authorities.

Investigators discovered seller profiles of Hager on Amazon and Alibris, which specializes in used books.

He later admitted to investigators that he’d been selling on Amazon for about five years, describing his items as “boy erotica.” His more recent foray, on the Alibris site, ended abruptly after less than a year, when the company yanked his listings for inappropriate content.

Hager confessed that he knew child pornography and sex with children was illegal, but he insisted that law enforcement had no right to enter his apartment and seize the items. Law enforcement officials had obtained a warrant after the discovery in Atlanta.

Investigators also discovered information that Hager had been in contact with an alleged distributor of child pornography and also a Mississippi man charged with possessing child porn.

Hager has been in custody since his arrest.

In December, Hager waived his right to indictment, according to court records, and was charged in what is known as an “information,” after discussions between the United States Attorney’s office and his attorney, Chris Skinner of the federal defenders office.

Judge Rya Zobel requested a pre-sentencing investigation by the court prior to sentencing Hager on April 9.

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