Merrimack College Professor Pleads Guilty to Possession of Child Pornography
BOSTON—The former chairman of Merrimack College’s Civil Engineering Department pleaded guilty yesterday to possession of child pornography.
Gary S. Spring, 61, of Danvers, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography after being charged in September 2014. U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns scheduled sentencing for December 9, 2015. Spring was also the administrator of the college’s residential summer camp for middle and high school aged children.
In June 2014, Merrimack College in North Andover uncovered suspicious activity associated with one of the college’s loaner computers through virus threat detection alerts. An internal investigation determined that the computer had been loaned out to Spring, and that Spring had been logged on when the alerts were triggered. Further investigation determined that the computer was used to access child pornography.
Search warrants were executed at Spring’s office at Merrimack College and his residence in Danvers. During an interview with law enforcement officers, Spring admitted to viewing and saving child pornography on various electronic media devices, destroying evidence of his child pornography collection by throwing away two thumb drives, and by wiping and recycling his personal computer. Forensic examination revealed that over 300 images of child pornography were viewed on the computer.
The charging statute provides a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, five years to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; North Andover Police Chief Paul J. Gallagher; and Merrimack College Police Chief Michael DelGreco, made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eve A. Piemonte of Ortiz’s Major Crimes Unit.
Members of the public who have questions, concerns or information regarding this case should call 617-748-3274.
The case is brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.