A local man is facing 20 years in jail after the Vermont Attorney General’s office charged him on Monday with three felonies related to possession of child pornography.

Frank Farley, 37, of Rutland, pleaded not guilty in Rutland criminal court to one felony count of promoting a sexual recording of a child and two felony counts of possession of child pornography.

Farley was released on an unsecured $5,000 appearance bond.

In an affidavit, Detective Elizabeth Feliccardi, who is assigned to the Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, said the investigation of Farley began when Caitlin Moynihan, a special agent with the Department of Homeland Security, got a tip on April 3 about someone in Vermont uploading an image of child pornography.

The person was using an application that allows mobile devices to trade messages, images or videos, to others within a specific group that is created by the user and not an administrator.

The image was allegedly uploaded on Jan. 21 from an internet provider address that belongs to a woman who has a relationship with Farley.

Feliccardi said she saw the image and believed it depicted child pornography. She said the girl in the photo appeared to be 8 to 10 years old. An email associated with the photo used an email that law-enforcement investigators believe was used by Farley.

The affidavit said Farley was accused of touching two different children within the last three years but neither accusation was substantiated. A third matter, from more than 20 years ago, when Farley was a teenager, resulted in a charge of lewd and lascivious conduct for which Farley entered a treatment program, the affidavit said.

On May 9, Michael McCullagh, also a special agent with Homeland Security, obtained a federal search warrant for an apartment at Regency Manor.

The warrant was executed on Monday.

At the home, agents spoke with Farley. He allegedly told the investigators he used the application where the child pornography was allegedly found to trade pornography with other users but “denied ever looking for or ever seeing child pornography,” Feliccardi wrote.

“When shown a copy of the photo of child pornography that was reportedly uploaded from his (application) account, he denied ever seeing it. Farley acknowledged the image contained a child and was, in fact, child pornography,” the affidavit said.

At the home, a cell phone, a desktop computer, a laptop computer and a tablet, belonging to Farley, were seized.

Moynihan told Feliccardi she learned that another user accessing the account belonged to another Rutland address where Farley said he rented a room.

Police did a limited on-scene search of Farley’s phone that allegedly found two images of child pornography.

A criminal records check from the federal investigators found Farley has three felony convictions and six misdemeanor convictions.

During Farley’s arraignment, Assistant Attorney General Ultan Doyle asked Judge Thomas Zonay to impose $10,000 bail.

He said Farley had failed to appear in court at least twice, faced up to 20 years in jail and had no job.

Attorney Mark Furlan, who represented Farley, said his client was on disability and that his failures to appear were in 2005 and 2011.

“That’s a long time ago,” Furlan said.

Zonay agreed to allow Farley to have a cell phone as long as it was a model that couldn’t connect to the internet.

The judge also ordered Farley not to leave Vermont after Farley said he has to leave Rutland County sometimes because his girlfriend is pregnant and he goes with her to medical appointments.

patrick.mcardle

@rutlandherald.com

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