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Waltham police officer appears in federal court on child pornography charges

Posted by Your Town  March 26, 2013 06:00 PM

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Paul C Manganelli Waltham.jpg
Massachusetts State Lottery
Paul Manganelli with his winning lotto ticket.

A Waltham police officer who won $1 million on a lottery ticket in 2011 appeared in court today after being arrested by the FBI on federal child pornography charges.

Paul Manganelli, 46, allegedly sent and received child pornography via his Yahoo email account, prosecutors said in a statement.

Manganelli acknowledged during an interview with an FBI agent on Monday that he received and sent illicit images via email and claimed that “he was doing research in an attempt to identify perverts online,” FBI Special Agent Eric S. Slaton wrote in a federal complaint.

However, Waltham police confirmed that Manganelli was never assigned to conduct any such investigation, and there is no indication that he reported any illegal activity, Slaton wrote.

Manganelli did not enter a plea to the charges during a brief initial appearance today in federal court in Boston.

He was ordered held without bail pending a detention hearing on Thursday.

Prosecutor Stacey Dawson Belf said the government would move to keep him in custody while the case is pending, on the grounds that he presents a danger to the public.

Manganelli, dressed in grey slacks and a white collared shirt, said he understood his rights after Judge Leo T. Sorokin listed them.

Asked if he was not requesting public counsel, Manganelli said, " That's correct, your honor."

His lawyer, Peter Bella, requested that Manganelli be kept apart from other prisoners for his safety, since he is a police officer.

"I would suggest that some special accommodation be given him while he's being held in custody, in light of that," Bella said.

Sorokin said he would direct the US Marshal's Service to ensure Manganelli's safety, but stopped short of ordering that he be held in segregation.

"I'm not sure special accommodation would be the words I would use," Sorokin said.

He added of Manganelli's job, "I agree with you that that's information that they should be aware of."

Belf did not discuss details of Manganelli's alleged wrongdoing during the hearing.

Bella declined to comment after the hearing.

Manganelli faces a maximum prison term of 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted.

The allegations were first reported by WHDH and WCVB, two local television stations.

Manganelli was arrested Monday by FBI agents in his home at 165 Lake St. in Waltham after an FBI investigation, according to FBI spokesman Greg Comcowich, although he declined to give Manganelli's name.

Manganelli, who has been on the force for 20 years, has been placed on paid administrative leave, according to Waltham police officials.

Police department officials declined to comment on whether Manganelli has faced any internal disciplinary charges in the past, as they would be private personnel matters.

Earlier today, Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy said in an email that she was disturbed by the charges, but hopes the arrest will not tarnish the reputation of the department as a whole.

"The allegations are disgusting. My thoughts are with his family," McCarthy wrote. "There are a lot of dedicated Waltham Police Officers who should not be negatively impacted by this."

Keith MacPherson, acting chief of the Waltham Police Department, also said in a statement that one individual's actions should not cast a shadow over the department.

"The alleged off-duty conduct of one employee is not a reflection of the Waltham Police Department as a whole," MacPherson said in a statement this morning. "The Waltham Police Department is dedicated to continuing the professional service that the City of Waltham has grown to expect and deserve. We continue to protect and serve the community, while maintaining the continued high professional standard that is expected of every one of our officers."

Manganelli claimed $1 million in lottery money on April 19, 2011 on a "$100,000 a Year For Life" ticket, according to a Massachusetts State Lottery spokeswoman. He was registered in the lottery's winners database as a Waltham resident, she said.

Manganelli also worked as a DJ at a company he started with a friend, and listed kids' and teens' parties as one area of expertise, according the company's website,

"We have played parties for 20 kids and we have played events for 500 plus kids for local elementary schools and organizations," the website reads.

According to the company's website, Manganelli grew up in the Warrendale neighborhood of Waltham. He received a degree in communications from Curry College, and a master's degree in criminal justice, although the website does not say where from.

Monday night's arrest is the latest troubling episode at Waltham police department.

Last summer, police chief Thomas LaCroix was arrested in Maynard on charges that he assaulted his wife and a female neighbor during separate incidents in June. He was suspended, and his criminal trial was recently pushed to June 20, according to the Middlesex district attorney’s office.

Follow us on Twitter: @yourtownwaltham, @jaclynreiss

Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at

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