More details emerge in child porn case after local man charged in federal court

Suspect appears in federal court to appeal detention

@mjmajchrowicz
Published: 4/13/2016 2:38:44 AM

SPRINGFIELD — Surfing Craigslist for porn and new hookups, James J. Smith yearned to find more people like him. So in December 2014, prosecutors allege, he penned a new post.

“I am a 30 yo white cute chubby male who is very interested in taboo porn, incest, cartoon porn and anything scene as different,” the 37-year-old Northampton man wrote, according to court records. “I was touched as a child and would love to hear stories trade pics ;) Nothing is over the top for me...”

This post, and dozens of other private messages on Craigslist that allegedly contained multiple sexually explicit photos of youngsters, led federal prosecutors on April 7 to charge Smith with offering to receive child pornography, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven H. Breslow said in court Tuesday.

The federal charge comes seven months after Smith pleaded not guilty in Hampshire Superior Court to 15 child porn-related charges. Investigators at that time said they uncovered about five dozen images of child porn on Smith’s cellphone when they served a search warrant on his Easthampton home, 53 Holyoke St., back in January 2015.

He was released this March after posting $10,000 bail. Following his release, Smith lived with his mother in Florence, was required to wear a GPS device, maintain employment and stay clear of any minor younger than 16.

Smith was jailed again April 7 when the Department of Justice announced the federal charge. He appeared in U.S. District Court in Springfield on Tuesday for a hearing to determine whether he could be released.

Smith trudged into the courtroom, raising his cuff-bound hands to the dozen or so family members in the gallery. After telling her son she loved him, Smith’s mother, Kathleen Golaski, bawled into her hands.

Golaski was the first witness to testify at Tuesday’s hearing.

“You love your son, right?” Breslow asked her on cross examination.

“Yes, I do,” Golaski said.

“And it troubled you greatly to see him put in jail…” he continued

“Yes,” she replied.

“You’d do anything to prevent your son from going to jail again, wouldn’t you?” Breslow asked.

Golaski paused. “We’re not gonna run if that’s where you’re going with this.”

Smith’s wife of nine years, Kathleen Smith, also testified Tuesday, saying that she was aware that her husband was posting Craigslist ads soliciting sex “for he and I,” but that she didn’t know of any posts related to sex with children.

Breslow contended that Smith was also “grooming” a 16-year-old girl via Facebook, offering her a modeling gig in which she would pose in a thong and underwear.

Smith’s defense attorney, Shawn P. Allen, of Holyoke, argued at the hearing that Smith had abided by all release conditions up to this point and that he would continue to do so if U.S. District Court Judge Katherine Robertson decided to release him.

Robertson did not issue her decision Tuesday.

After the hearing Tuesday, Lana Johnson, 33, stood outside the courthouse. She still had not really processed the charges, she said, because she knew James Smith only to be supportive and kind. Their young children played together, she added.

Johnson contends Smith is innocent of the charges against him and characterized the ongoing investigation as a “witch hunt” and said that it could have been anybody who accessed the pornographic images.

“When it comes to computers, people have a wondrous way of getting into things,” Johnson said.

Michael Majchrowicz can be reached at mmajchrowicz@gazettenet.com.




Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061
413-584-5000

 

Copyright © 2020 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy