The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that on December 17, 2020, David Hughes, 39, of Rutland, Vermont, was sentenced in United States District Court in Rutland, Vermont, to serve 96 months in prison after his guilty plea to one count of possession of child pornography. Chief U.S. District Judge Geoffrey W. Crawford also ordered Hughes to serve a five (5) year term of supervised release, and to pay a $100 special assessment.
According to court records and proceedings, in November 2018, an individual cleaning out his mother’s basement in Rutland, Vermont, came upon a box belonging to Hughes. Hughes had stored the box in the basement with the mother’s permission. The individual opened Hughes’ box and discovered VHS videotapes which depicted small children known to the individual engaging in sexually explicit activity. The individual also recognized Hughes’ voice on the tapes. After discovery of the tapes and taking a statement from Hughes in which he admitted to making the videos on the tapes, law enforcement obtained a warrant to search Hughes’ residence. During the search of Hughes’ residence, law enforcement seized a Dell computer that belonged to Hughes. On it, law enforcement discovered images depicting child pornography.
In resolving Hughes’ case, the U.S. Attorney’s Office worked closely with Rutland County State’s Attorney Rose Kennedy because Hughes also faced state charges related to the sexual activity depicted on the VHS tapes. In Hughes’ federal plea agreement, he was required to plead guilty to the state charges prior to imposition of sentence in the federal case. If Hughes failed to enter guilty pleas in the state case, the federal plea agreement would have been voided. On October 9, 2020, Hughes pleaded guilty in state court to sexual assault charges and received a sentence of 7-15 years, all suspended with seven (7) years to serve. Hughes’ 96-month federal sentence will run concurrently to the state sentence.
U.S. Attorney Nolan commended the efforts of the Rutland City Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations in the investigation of Hughes. She also cited this case as an example of the strong partnership between the U.S. Attorney’s Office and State’s Attorney Kennedy’s office and thanked SA Kennedy for her collaboration.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara A. Masterson handled the prosecution of Hughes. Assistant Federal Public Defender Elizabeth Quinn represented Hughes.
U.S. Attorney Nolan noted that this prosecution is part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.