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Second child porn arrest made in Newton

Posted by Your Town  January 25, 2012 02:50 PM

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(Josh Reynolds for the Globe)

Peter Buchanan awaiting on Wednesday in Newton District Court on charges of possession and distribution of child pornography.

For the second time in two weeks, residents of Newton were stunned by the news that a trusted public employee was involved in child pornography.

On Wednesday, authorities announced that they had arrested Peter Buchanan, a 10-year city employee who had worked part-time in the Newton Library's audio visual section. It followed by little more than a week the arrest of a second grade teacher on child porn charges. Officials say the cases are unrelated.

Buchanan, 47, of Cabot Street in Newton, pleaded not guilty to three counts of possession of child pornography and two counts of distribution of material depicting a child in a sexual act.

Buchanan was arrested yesterday at his house, where police found a laptop with 21 images of child pornography on it. According to the police report, Buchanan admitted the laptop was his.

According to the police report, Buchanan admitted to possessing child pornography, and said he'd been using file sharing to download child pornography over the last three to five years. He said he usually deleted images every few weeks when the memory on his computer filled up.

Buchanan's lawyer, David Levinson, said that his Buchanan was being overcharged.

"Mr. Buchanan did not admit to distributing, he didn't know this file-sharing was transmitting," said Levinson during the arraignment.

Bail was set at $5,000 cash, and Buchanan was ordered to have no contact with children under the age of 18, to stay away from the Newton library, to stay away from computers, and to avoid any employment or volunteer work that involved children under the age of 18.

Levinson said that his client has no criminal record.

"These are very troubling allegations, where a city employee working in a public library was in possession of child pornography," Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr. said. "Children are our most vulnerable victims and we will continue to prosecute those who harm or exploit them."

District attorney spokeswoman Jessica Pastore said the arrest was made as part of an investigation by the Internet Crimes against Children Task Force and state police with the district attorney's technology and public corruption unit.

Initially, officials characterized Buchanan as a librarian. This afternoon, a spokesman for the City of Newton said he was an "audio visual classifier,'' not a librarian. It was not clear today which library he worked at.

The city said Buchanan has worked for the City of Newton for over 10 years and is a part-time employee. He passed his criminal record check and has had no disciplinary action nor any complaints about him during his employment. He has been placed on administrative leave.

This afternoon, Newton Mayor Setti Warren issued a statement about the Buchanan arrest.

"The allegations against Peter Buchanan are serious, and extremely troubling,'' Warren's statement said. "If they are proven to be true, then he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The type of behavior that has been alleged has absolutely no place anywhere in our community.''

The arrest follows by little over a week the arrest of a Newton second grade teacher on pornography charges. Authorities said the two cases are not related.

In the earlier case, teacher David Ettlinger pleaded not guilty to charges of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 and posing a child in a state of nudity, in a West Roxbury District Court. He also pleaded not guilty to related charges of possession of child pornography in Brighton District Court.

Ettlinger was a second-grade teacher and had been employed with Newton public schools for 12 years. School officials have moved to fire Ettlinger and have held two public meetings with parents.

The Buchanan arrest is a state case and there is no apparent connection with federal investigation into Dreamboard, the child pornography website that Newton teacher David Ettlinger is alleged to have participated in, said Ross Feinstein, a spokesman for the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"It doesn't appear to be in any way connected to the previous arrest last week," Feinstein said.

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