PROVIDENCE – Jonathan Breslin, 32, of Westerly, was ordered detained in federal custody following his initial appearance in federal court in Providence today before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Patricia A. Sullivan on a criminal complaint charging him with receiving and distributing child pornography; possessing and accessing with intent to view child pornography; transfer of obscene material to a minor via interstate commerce; and attempted production of child pornography.
Breslin was arrested earlier today following a federal court authorized search of his Westerly residence, and the seizure of a computer, a digital media storage device, and a cell phone allegedly containing child pornography. The search was conducted by agents from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and members of the Rhode Island State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, with the assistance of members of the Westerly and Warwick Police Departments.
Breslin’s arrest, initial appearance in U.S. District Court and detention are announced by Acting United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch; Matthew J. Etre, Special Agent in Charge of HSI for New England; Colonel Ann C. Assumpico, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police; Westerly Police Chief Richard G. Silva; and Warwick Police Chief Colonel Stephen M. McCartney.
According to court documents, it is alleged that in late March 2016, a law enforcement officer in Saskatchewan, Canada, arrested an individual in an unrelated matter. A search of a cell phone belonging to the individual resulted in the discovery of an online mobile chat application allegedly used to discuss and share child pornography images and videos to a network of users. A review by Saskatchewan law enforcement identified 78 unique users who allegedly shared and/or communicated about child pornography.
Information developed and records obtained by Canadian law enforcement through Canadian court orders were provided to HSI agents who, through further investigation, identified IP address in the United States that were allegedly used to participate in some of the conversations, and/or to upload and view child pornography. Among the IP address identified was one allegedly belonging to Breslin.
Further investigation by an HSI agent in Rhode Island included online chats between Breslin and the agent posing as an individual interested in discussing, viewing and sharing child pornography. It is alleged that Breslin discussed viewing, possessing and attempted production of child pornography.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John P. McAdams.
The Rhode Island ICAC Task Force is comprised of members of the Rhode Island State Police Computer Crimes Unit along with detectives from the Warwick, Cranston, Newport, East Providence Police, Pawtucket, North Kingstown, Portsmouth and Woonsocket Police Departments and agents from Homeland Security Investigations and United States Postal Inspection Services.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
District of Rhode Island