Mount Pleasant Police Chief Arraigned On Child Pornography Charges

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Mount Pleasant Police Chief Brian Fanelli exits the White Plains federal courthouse Thursday night after being arraigned on child pornography charges. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. -- Mount Pleasant Police Chief Brian Fanelli was arraigned on child pornography charges Thursday afternoon at the federal courthouse in White Plains.

Fanelli, 54, was arrested in his home by agents of Homeland Security Investigations and charged with one count of possession of child pornography. He was released on a $50,000 bond. U.S. Magistrate Judge Lisa Margaret Smith ordered that he be confined to his home with an electronic monitor.

According to the complaint filed against Fanelli by Homeland Security, he used a Peer-to-Peer file sharing network to download 126 files containing images and video of child pornography between October and January.

Some of the material included children younger than 10 years old, according to the complaint. Investigators were able to track his IP address using investigative software. On three occasions, agents were able to use the network to download child pornography directly from Fanelli's computer.

Homeland Security agents executed a search warrant on Fanelli's home in Mahopac and arrested him Thursday.

After being taken into custody, Fanelli told the arresting agents that he has taught sexual abuse awareness classes to elementary and middle school students for more than a year. According to the complaint, he said that he first began reviewing child pornography as research for his classes, and later for personal interest.

“Given the allegations, this case is particularly disturbing and sad," said Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. "A senior law enforcement officer, sworn to uphold the law, stands accused of breaking the law. And it is the law designed to protect the youngest and most vulnerable of our population from vile exploitation.”

Fanelli was appointed chief in November. He joined the Mount Pleasant Police Department in 1981, and as a lieutenant he was in charge of monitoring the town's sex offenders.

Fanelli did not enter a plea during his court appearance. He declined to comment on the matter as he left the White Plains courthouse Thursday night. He is scheduled to appear in court again on Feb. 19.

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Comments (9)

Peonie Bob:

Teaching sexual abuse awareness should be taught at home by guardians. Everyone, it seems, thinks just because you are in a position of great reponcibility, you are a responcible person. Don't trust anybody and you'll be alright. Thanks to some good people, we're not totally unarmed against such aborations that lurk everywhere.

YonkersResident:

I think it is possible... but should have been done at work if it really was research.

YonkersResident:

I think it is possible... but should have been done at work if it really was research.

Misscharlotte107:

GOTTCHA! Thought you were above the law......save the research excuse for your wife, it doesn't fly with the general public who have children and grandchildren. Your a disgrace to the uniform, obviously your perversion outweighed your knowledge of technology..........it's not rocket science, big brother is always watching.

majura:

Very sad to hear this. A few years ago many were very devastated by what the Mount Pleasant Police department did to Danroy Henry, they riddled an unarmed man with over 50 bullets. The ghost of Danroy Henry in full effect. Karma is always a B***H. Shame on the Mount Pleasant Police Department and especially their chief.

Truth:

Mr Innocent Henry drove a vehicle straight at a police officer when ordered to stop....get your facts straight it was not only the Mt Pleasant PD there.
By the way if I recollect Henry was also dui.....

fedupinny:

I totally agree with some of your sentiments but to lump the entire Mount Pleasant police dept together because of the Chief is not appropriate to those who have done nothing wrong.

River Rat:

Mt.Pleasant.Oy.The terrorists got to the water supply.People are just snapping.WTH?

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