PROVIDENCE — Four men, including two from Pawtucket and one from Central Falls, have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Providence on charges of receiving and possessing child pornography.
Two of the defendants also face charges of allegedly distributing child pornography.
According to a press release from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), federal indictments against the four were sought by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha as a result of a state and federal multi-agency investigation earlier this year into child exploitation.
Stemming from this investigation, federal indictments were recently returned against Jason Bidondi, 35, of Central Falls; Robert L. Macgregor, 48, of Pawtucket; Gerard R. Proulx, Jr., 34; of Pawtucket, and Paul N. Hutchinson, 27, of Barrington, charging each with receiving and possession of child pornography. Bidondi and Macgregor are also charged with distribution of child pornography. The defendants will be summonsed to U.S. District Court in Providence.
The investigation was conducted by ICE, Homeland Security Investigations, the Rhode Island State Police Computer Crimes Unit/Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (RI ICAC), and other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
For several months, members of the RI ICAC, in conjunction with the U.S. attorneys office and the Rhode Island attorney general's office, initiated an undercover on-line investigation dubbed “Operation Safe Child.” In August, search warrants were executed at more than 20 Rhode Island residences from which investigators successfully obtained direct Internet downloads of child pornography.
As a result of these downloads, 26 search warrants were executed by more than 100 federal, state and local law enforcement personnel, in which detectives discovered thousands of images of child pornography and videos. Personnel from the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) and the Day One Children's Advocacy Center assisted.
Other defendants arrested as a result of Operation Safe Child are facing charges in Rhode Island state courts.