Worcester man arrested on child pornography charges is linked to international network
An international child pornography network first discovered in Massachusetts has come full circle with another local arrest -- this time in Worcester -- according to federal court documents.
Geoffrey R. Portway ,39, was arrested Friday after federal agents and state troopers searched his home and seized a laptop and desktop computer that allegedly contained images of child pornography and dead children. He was charged with the possession and distribution of child pornography and a detention hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, the US Attorney’s Office said.
Portway is being held by Worcester police, according to an affidavit written by Peter Manning, a special agent with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations.
Worldwide, 43 men have now been arrested in the on child pornography charges as the result of an investigation that started in 2009 after Milford hotel manager Robert Diduca mistakenly sent a photo of an abused 18-month-old boy to federal investigators. The Globe published a story Sunday that detailed the investigation, which has also helped to identify least 140 exploited children from California to Mexico.
A toddler boy in the photo sent by Diduca to agents was eventually identified as being from the Netherlands. That information helped Dutch police locate Robert Mikelsons, a Latvian-born day care provider who eventually confessed to molesting dozens of children in the Amsterdam area. Both Diduca and Mikelsons have since been sentenced to 18 years in prison in separate cases.
After those arrests, federal agents continued to search the men’s computer files for more clues. In May, Michael Arnett of Kansas, was charged with the possession and production of child pornography, including images of young children being “sexually abused and bound and gagged,’’ according to a federal court document.
Portway allegedly chatted online with Arnett as well as with Ronald William Brown, a Florida puppeteer who was arrested in July for conspiring to kidnap a child and possessing child pornography.
Arnett and Brown allegedly discussed killing and eating children.
Federal investigators and the US Attorney’s Office on Tuesday declined to comment on Portway’s arrest. On Monday, ICE Director John Morton said the investigation is far from over.
“Each new predator we put behind bars leads us to yet another person attempting to exploit children,” Morton said.Jenifer B. McKim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on twitter @jbmckim.