PEABODY — A narrative describing how to sexually abuse children — written by a Peabody man on lifetime probation for child pornography — is not "protected speech," a federal judge has ruled. 

Prosecutors say Raymond Scanzani, 61, had also embedded photographs of babies and young children in the narrative, which they found on a computer, and on a desk, during a search of his Andover Street apartment last year. 

“He realized it was absolutely necessary to gain the boy’s trust, and begin to form a loving bond with him," Scanzani had allegedly written, "before he could begin the first stages of total molestation.”

On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Dennis Saylor denied a motion by Scanzani's lawyer to suppress that narrative, the photos, and other items found during the search. 

Scanzani's federal defender, Stylianus Sinnis, had cited several grounds for excluding the evidence from Scanzani's upcoming trial, currently set for November. 

Scanzani, who had spent nearly eight years in federal prison following a federal conviction for child pornography in 2006, was on lifetime supervision by federal probation officials. Among the conditions was that he allow probation officers to remotely monitor his computer usage, according to the judge's ruling.

In May 2018, the monitoring software on his computer sent an alert to the probation department about the potential presence of child pornography, the judge wrote. 

The alert included screen images, which were used in a search warrant application, the judge wrote.

During the search, investigators went to an attic, where they found some of the material, according to the ruling. 

Sinnis argued in his motion that the information provided to a magistrate who issued the warrant was not adequate probable cause — and accused the Homeland Security investigator of deliberately leaving out information that Scanzani's probation officer and psychologist were already aware he'd written a narrative. 

He also argued that even if the judge found that the warrant was valid, it did not include the attic. And if it did, he argued, Scanzani was within his First Amendment right to produce the narrative, calling it protected speech.

But Saylor concluded that agents did not need a warrant, because "Scanzani’s conditions of supervised release clearly and unambiguously provided for warrantless searches of his property upon 'reasonable suspicion.' And there is no question that law enforcement had an objectively reasonable basis to suspect Scanzani possessed child pornography when the search was executed," Saylor wrote. 

Despite that initial conclusion, Saylor went on to address the other issues raised by Sinnis, including the question of whether the narrative was protected expression or speech that should not have been the basis for a search warrant.  

"Because a defendant’s possession of material involving the sexual molestation of children — even if the material is legal, and regardless of whether the material constitutes child pornography — can have significant probative value, it was entirely appropriate for the magistrate judge to consider the story in making his probable-cause determination," Saylor wrote. 

Saylor also found that the agents were reasonable to conclude that the attic area was included in the warrant, which referred to the apartment and any "appurtenances" — which the judge took to include the attic. 

A status hearing is scheduled for Oct. 3. 

Scanzani had been involved in a plan in 2016 to buy and open a restaurant in Gloucester at the location of the former "Espresso" restaurant. His sister initially was able to transfer the liquor license from the prior owners, but officials subsequently learned of Scanzani's financial role and his felony convictions, as well as his condition of not associating with anyone under 18. The city then revoked the license transfer.

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

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