County Superior Court
Plaintiff: Matthew LaMountain, Esq.
Defendant: John E. MacDonald, Esq.
McBURNEY, M. JUSTICE.
this Court is the Defendant, Michael Chaput's
(Defendant), Super. R. Crim. P. 9.1 (Rule 9.1) motion to
dismiss Count One against him in the above-entitled matter.
As grounds for his motion, Defendant asserts that no probable
cause exists to believe that the offense charged has been
committed or that Defendant committed said charge. For the
reasons set forth herein, this Court denies Defendant's
Rule 9.1 motion to dismiss.
August 18, 2015, the Rhode Island Internet Crimes Against
Children (ICAC) Task Force learned that a computer using the
Internet Protocol (IP) address 126.96.36.199 was on a
peer-to-peer file-sharing network. The ICAC Task Force
conducted a single source direct connection to said IP
address and downloaded a file named "Kait‒Katrin
6yo love dad.avi" with the description "an adult
male having vaginal intercourse with a nude female
toddler." Harris Aff. at 3. Detective Kevin Harris
(Detective Harris)-investigator assigned to ICAC- reviewed
the file and confirmed its content to be in conformity with
the definition of child pornography as defined under G.L.
1956 § 11-9-1.3. Id.
inquiry with the American Registry of Internet Numbers (ARIN)
was conducted, and the results determined that the owner of
IP address 188.8.131.52 was identified as Cox Communications
Incorporated. A request for records was sent to Cox
Communications, and Cox Communications provided that the IP
address belonged to Barbara Chaput of 155 Read Avenue in
Coventry, Rhode Island. Thereafter, a search warrant was
obtained and executed at said address. Defendant, son of
Barbara Chaput, admitted that he was the primary user of the
computer in the home. See Michael Chaput Witness
Statement at 4-5, No. 33-36.
ICAC Task Force seized Defendant's hard drive and
conducted a forensic examination of its contents. The ICAC
Task Force discovered nine images of child pornography
located within folders found within Mike's Documents
folder titled "NEW PICS" and "WAYNE NEW."
See Preliminary Digital Forensic Examination Report
at 3. The ICAC Task Force also examined the hard drive for
e-Mule evidence and found multiple files with
names indicative of child pornography that were downloaded or
shared. Id. at 4. Specifically, the file name
"Kait-Katrin 6yo love dad.avi" was downloaded using
e-Mule on August 18, 2015 at 13:40 (UTC) and was last shared
on August 18, 2015 at 14:39 (UTC). Id.
on October 7, 2015, the Defendant was interviewed by
Detective Harris and Detective Pacheco. During the interview,
the Defendant admitted to reviewing and possessing child
pornography through the use of e-Mule. See Michael
Chaput Witness Statement at 6, No. 48; 8, No. 64-69; 9, No.
76; 11, No. 92, 94, 95, 98; 12, No. 99. The Defendant
admitted that he has copied images and videos containing
child pornography onto DVDs and mailed the DVDs to a man
named "Wayne" in the state of Wyoming for $100.00
per DVD. Id. at 7, No. 56-61; 18-19, No. 158-167;
20, No. 174. Furthermore, the Defendant admitted to using
e-Mule as recently as August or September of 2015.
Id. at 6, No. 48; 22, No. 190. The Defendant
explained that he would use the peer-to-peer sharing program
to search and download videos and that some of the
content included "girls that would be nude."
Id. at 8, No. 64-69. The Defendant stated that he
enjoyed looking at nude five and six-year-old girls and that
he masturbated to videos of young girls. Id. at 10,
No. 81-82, 87; 12, No. 99; 15, No. 125-126. When asked
whether the Defendant realized that he could have been
sharing files with others by downloading content, the
Defendant responded, "I know, yeah. I know I'm
sharing some, but the folder I had was everything I had was,
was it was music." Id. at 13, No. 113. However,
the Defendant later claimed that he had an online friend who
sometimes received nude photos of five to nine-year-old girls
through Defendant's folders titled "Wayne" and
"new pics." Id. at 17-18, No. 145-150.
on the above information, the Defendant was charged with two
child pornography related offenses. Count One alleges that
the Defendant knowingly mailed, transported, delivered, or
transferred images of child pornography in violation of
§ 11-9-1.3(a)(2). Count Two alleges that the Defendant
knowingly possessed a computer hard drive that contained
images of child pornography in violation of §
11-9-1.3(a)(4). Defendant now moves to dismiss Count One on
the ground that there is insufficient probable cause to
charge the Defendant with transmittal of child pornography.