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NY policeman held in child porn case originating in Anchorage

Frank Eltman

MINEOLA, N.Y. -- An FBI investigation that began more than a year ago with the arrest of a child pornography suspect in Alaska has led to federal charges against a New York state police investigator who has worked as a high school and college lacrosse coach.

SeanMichael Pagano, 37, of Mount Sinai, was being held without bail following his arrest Thursday on charges he downloaded videos depicting young girls engaged in sexual acts with adults. His attorney, Brian Davis, said his client has pleaded not guilty, but added he had just been retained Friday and was still investigating the allegations.

Davis said he hoped to present a bail package to a judge in federal court in Central Islip on Monday.

When he was arrested, Pagano told an FBI agent that he had downloaded the videos as part of an investigation he was conducting on behalf of the state police.

The complaint against Pagano, however, said he "was not authorized to conduct child pornography investigations as part of his employment, and had never reported receiving or accessing child pornography."

Darcy Wells, a state police spokeswoman, said Pagano, a 14-year veteran assigned to barracks in East Farmingdale, on Long Island, was suspended without pay.

Pagano also was fired from his position as an assistant lacrosse coach at Rocky Point High School. Superintendent Michael Ring said Pagano was hired for the part-time position in December and had cleared all background checks.

Pagano coached the Briarcliffe College men's lacrosse team from 2009 to 2013. Briarcliffe spokesman Mark Spencer said there was no indication the coach had any contact with minors; he declined to say why Pagano was no longer coaching there, citing personnel reasons.

A 13-page criminal complaint indicates the FBI investigation of Pagano began in March 2013 with the arrest of an unidentified suspect in Anchorage on charges of possession and distribution of child pornography. That suspect later agreed to cooperate with investigators, and turned over records of those with whom he had exchanged child pornography.

In June 2013, investigators uncovered evidence that Pagano had contacted a website run by the suspect in Alaska. Pagano allegedly downloaded or previewed five videos involving young girls being molested by adult men. Search warrants were later issued for Pagano's email accounts, which uncovered evidence that he had allegedly responded to numerous online adult sex advertisements by sending pictures and videos of himself, both clothed and nude.

Authorities arrested Pagano at his Mount Sinai home on Thursday.


Associated Press