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Google’s email filters lead to child porn charges against Orange man

ORANGE — A local man accused of child pornography and firearms charges was apparently singled out by a Google “bot.”

David Johnstone, 45, of 54 Ward Road, pleaded innocent in Franklin Superior Court to two counts of possession of child pornography, one count of distributing material of a child involved in a sexual act, three counts of unlicensed possession of a firearm as a subsequent offense, three counts of improper storage of a firearm, and one charge of possession of a large-capacity firearm Friday.

The investigation into Johnstone began when automated filters identified a pornographic image of a child in an email he attempted to send from his Gmail account, administered by Google, according to Assistant District Attorney Christine Tetrault.

When Google found the image in Johnstone’s Nov. 20, 2013, email, the company notified the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which passed the tip on to law enforcement, Tetrault wrote.

State police determined that the IP address attached to the email was registered to Time Warner Cable and subpoenaed the company, which in turn led detectives to Johnstone, Tetrault reported.

His home was searched May 7, and detectives discovered about 23 gigabytes of pornography on an SD memory card, most of it involving minors, according to Tetrault.

Six fully loaded firearms were also discovered, including an SKS assault rifle, a Smith and Wesson .357-caliber Magnum revolver, and a .25-caliber pistol as well as extra ammunition, Tetrault wrote.

Johnstone did not have a license for any of the weapons, according to Tetrault.

Johnstone was released on $3,000 bail with several stipulations.

He must give police and probation officers his passwords and allow them to look through all of his computer and electronic equipment as well as removable media storage, stay 25 yards from any school, park, or recreational area where children congregate, not have contact with anyone under 18, and must not use the Internet for anything but work or school purposes. He was also ordered not to use any “wiping” software to remove materials from his computer equipment, and must preserve the search history on all his computers and other Internet-capable devices.

Johnstone has a previous firearms conviction.

In 2007, he was arrested when police found more than two dozen illegally owned firearms in his house. They included a 9mm submachine gun, 13 handguns, 15 rifles, 68 magazines and 11,000 rounds of ammunition.

On New Year’s Eve 2009, Johnstone pleaded guilty to reduced charges as part of a plea bargain, including illegal possession of a firearm, improper storage of a small capacity firearm, and unlawful possession of ammunition, in Franklin Superior Court.

He was sentenced by Judge John Agostini to one year in the county jail, followed by a single year of probation. The weapons were seized and slated for demolition.

You can reach David Rainville at: drainville@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 279 On Twitter, follow @RecorderRain

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