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Gill man faces child pornography charges

GREENFIELD — A Gill man pleaded innocent to child pornography charges in Greenfield District Court Tuesday.

William Schoedel, 67, of 9 Oak St., Gill, was arraigned on a single charge of possessing child pornography.

The case dates back to the May discovery of child pornography on a laptop owned by the defendant, according to a report filed by State Police Sgt. Thomas Bakey.

The defendant had brought a laptop computer to Best Buy in Hadley to have printer software installed, and workers found a photograph of a topless girl, estimated to be between 8 and 10 years of age, on the computer, wrote Bakey.

Store management called local police, who brought state police in on the case.

When Bakey went to the defendant’s house to question him two days later, his wife answered the door, and was shocked to learn of the allegations, the sergeant wrote. She surrendered the couple’s desktop computer for search, according to Bakey.

When Bakey made contact with the defendant, the man insisted that someone must have broken into his house, and used his computer to view and download child pornography, according to the report.

Later, wrote Bakey, the man admitted to looking at the illicit material, and said he’d had an interest in child pornography for about 7 years, and guessed that he had between 10 and 100 such images.

The defendant later brought police six compact discs, which Bakey viewed with the defendant present. Bakey reported that the discs contained a total of 87 images, most of young girls and boys naked, and some of children engaged in sexual acts. Bakey estimated the victims’ ages from 6 to 14.

The defendant later brought in three more discs, wrote Bakey, which contained 190 explicit images of children as young as 4 years old. One featured a teenage girl with a noose around her neck and her hands pinned by a male, and many others depicted sexual abuse of young victims, wrote Bakey.

All the images were copied and forwarded to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s child victim identification program, wrote Bakey.

Schoedel has been placed on pretrial probation, with several conditions. He must not have unsupervised contact with minors, may not work or attend overnight events with those under 18, he may not use a computer, he may not view computer videos or other media, he must not access the Internet, nor possess any electronic media stored on CDs, DVDs or videocasettes and must submit any such media to police to be examined.

A first conviction for possession of child pornography carries a maximum sentence of five years in state prison or two and a half years in county jail, fines up to $10,000, or a combination of fines and incarceration.

Schoedel is scheduled to return to court Sept. 16 for a pretrial conference.

David Rainville can be reached at:
drainville@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 279

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