By Ryan Hutton, New England Newspapers
Updated: 11/03/2009 06:12:08 AM EST
Tuesday, Nov. 03
ADAMS -- Veteran Adams Police Officer Alan C. Vigiard, 45, was arrested last week and charged with possession of child pornography. He has been placed on administrative leave pending further investigation, authorities said Monday.
According to state police reports, Vigiard, who is married with two children, allegedly downloaded and viewed child pornography in the Adams Police Department evidence room. He pleaded not guilty to the child pornography charge Friday in Northern Berkshire District Court.
Police Chief Donald Poirot and the State Police Berkshire Detective Unit began investigating after a folder containing 153 images of child pornography was copied onto CDs with evidence for a larceny case and sent to the Berkshire County district attorney's office, according to court documents.
The images included both male and female children "clearly under age 18" in various states of undress and in sexually explicit situations, according to state police reports. Mixed in with the pornographic images were pictures of clothed teenage girls who have been identified as being from the Adams area.
Also on the CDs were images and a video clip of a male masturbating in front of a computer monitor, the reports state -- the male's head is never in view, but the background was clearly identified as the Police Department's evidence room. According to police, the man in the video had a distinctive scar on his left hand that matched one a state trooper noticed on Vigiard's hand when he was arrested.
Vigiard is one of only four people with access to the Police Department evidence room, Poirot told state police.
According to court documents, the State Police Digital Evidence Unit was called in to investigate the department's computers, and Poirot contacted the town's network administrator to track Vigiard's account. The administrator said all computer accounts are protected by passwords, so it is not possible for someone to access an account other than his or her own. The digital evidence unit found that time stamps reporting access to the pornographic files matched the times Vigiard had been logged into the system.
The digital evidence unit also found that "Lime Wire" -- a peer-to-peer file sharing program -- had been installed on the evidence room computer. Lime Wire is a program used to download both pirated and legitimate music and videos, as well as more illicit materials such as child pornography. In the Lime Wire searches, police found numerous words and phrases common with searching for child pornography, court documents state.
Poirot told state police the Adams Police Department is not properly equipped or trained to handle cases of child pornography so none should be located anywhere on the department's computers or network.
On Thursday, Poirot confiscated Vigiard's key to the evidence room, court reports state, adding that while state police were meeting with the chief in his office, network time stamps showed that Vigiard tried to delete additional files from the department's network from another computer. State police were able to recover all the files.
According to court documents, Vigiard, after being confronted with the charges, agreed to cooperate with state police: He asked that they not respond to his home and arranged a meeting with troopers at the Adams Police Department later Thursday afternoon. Before that meeting, however, Vigiard called Poirot to cancel, and at 6:40 p.m., state police arrested him outside his home.
While he was being booked at the Cheshire State Police barracks, a trooper observed that Vigiard had a scar that matched the one in the masturbation video and documented it, reports state.
Poirot said he could not comment on an open investigation. He said the department was taking the case very seriously and cooperating with state police. The district attorney's office would not comment beyond confirming the charges against Vigiard.
Vigiard has a pre-trial hearing scheduled for Dec. 21 in Northern Berkshire District Court. If convicted, he could face up to five years in state prison or two and a half years in county jail, as well as fines ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.
To reach Ryan Hutton, e-mail email@example.com.