By Tessa Raebeck
Michael S. Bonnet of East Hampton was arrested last Wednesday afternoon on charges that he transported child pornography, according to federal officials.
A registered sex offender, Bonnet, 28, is being held without bail in federal court in Central Islip, after being arraigned around 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 30 said Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen Bode. He is being charged with one complaint of transporting child pornography for interstate commerce, or distribution, according to Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Under the alias “Bob Jones,” the defendant knowingly sent numerous images depicting child pornography to an undercover FBI agent in February 2013, according to a complaint filed with the U.S. District Court on Tuesday. Public defender Randi Chavis, who is representing Bonnet in the case, declined to comment.
Bonnet, of Cosdrew Lane in East Hampton, is currently on probation with the Suffolk County Office of Probation after being convicted of sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl in 2008, states the complaint. While Bode did not have the exact location of the 2008 incident, he said it did occur in New York State.
According to the complaint, the defendant responded to an advertisement seeking to “trade” images of child pornography which was posted by an undercover FBI officer on a “Human Sexuality forum” website. Using an email address that includes the first initial of his first name and his full last name, Bonnet responded to the undercover advertisement on February 24, according to the complaint.
The complaint states that Bonnet, using the name “Bob Jones,” and the undercover agent exchanged several emails that day. In one email, according to the complaint, Bonnet wrote to the undercover agent, “Just hoping your [sic] not a cop or anything don’t need trouble.” On February 24, “Bob Jones” sent the undercover agent a pornographic image of a prepubescent female, the complaint states.
The advertisement posted by the undercover FBI agent said, “send to receive,” according to the complaint. In response to the pornographic image allegedly sent by Bonnet, the undercover agent sent a corrupted video to “Bob Jones” with a title alluding that the file contained child pornography, states the complaint. Using an online program that is available to the general public, the FBI identified the IP address, a unique number that identifies a computer or device using the Internet, being used by “Bob Jones” when the file was opened by the recipient, said the complaint.
The complaint states the agent then determined that the IP address was associated with a cellular phone. During the conversation between “Bob Jones” and the undercover agent, the defendant allegedly said he used a cellular phone so the IP address could not be linked to a particular device, the complaint states. “Bob Jones” sent the undercover agent two more pornographic images of underage females, states the complaint.
According to the complaint, the undercover agent located additional postings under the name “great times” by a user using the same email address on a different forum, each time with the location of East Hampton, New York. Using the letters in the defendant’s alleged email address, the undercover agent then searched for subjects with the last name “Bonnet” and the first initial “M” in East Hampton, according to the complaint.
The complaint states that the search provided the undercover agent with one name, Michael S. Bonnet of Cosdrew Lane, East Hampton. An additional search revealed that the defendant was a registered sex offender located at the same address, according to the complaint.
On or about October 24, the defendant was interviewed at his probation office after being advised of and waiving his Miranda rights, the complaint states. According to the complaint, the defendant stated that he had sent the images of child pornography to the undercover agent in February 2013, that he traded and received child pornography with others via the same website and that he had approximately 100 pornographic images of children on his cellphone.
According to the complaint, after searching the content of Bonnet’s cellphone, authorities found “numerous images of apparent child pornography depicting victims ages five to 11 years old.”
Because of his prior conviction, Bonnet faces a minimum of 15 years in convicted.