Northampton man arrested on child pornography charge

  • FILE PHOTO  FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 9/25/2020 3:14:10 PM

NORTHAMPTON — A city man charged with possession of child pornography appeared in court Wednesday after police raided his Bridge Road home earlier in the week.

Philip Brocklesby, 58, pleaded not guilty in Northampton District Court to a charge of possession of child pornography. He posted $1,500 bail and was released on conditions.

According to a police report written by Detective Sgt. Corey Robinson that was included in court documents, city police in May began investigating a tip about child pornography uploaded to Facebook that had been reported by the social media company to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and subsequently sent to the Massachusetts State Police. Facebook had identified the user in question as “Phil Brocklesby” and provided an IP address from which an image was uploaded. State police traced this IP address to Brocklesby’s Florence home.

Facebook reported two uploaded images, according to Robinson: Brocklesby’s profile picture featuring a dog, and another uploaded in April from Brocklesby’s IP address that was categorized in the tip as being a prepubescent minor engaged in a sex act.

With a search warrant in hand for Brocklesby’s Facebook account, Robinson wrote that he located the “suspect image” but said it was unclear if it had been sent to anyone.

On Monday, Robinson applied for and was granted a search warrant for Brocklesby’s home. The next day, at around 2:40 p.m., officers observed Brocklesby entering his driveway. Officers told Brocklesby about the search warrant and advised him of his Miranda rights. Brocklesby declined to make a statement, Robinson wrote.

While executing the search warrant around 2:55 p.m., Robinson wrote that he performed a forensic preview of a computer that was powered on in Brocklesby’s bedroom, during which he found “several images with prepubescent males posed lasciviously in the nude as well as engaged in sex acts with other children.” Brocklesby was placed under arrest.

Reached at his home, Brocklesby declined to comment Friday and referred questions to his lawyer, Zoe Zeichner, of Northampton, who could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

According to court documents, Brocklesby is employed by the Valley Area Transit Co. on Industrial Drive in Northampton, which according to the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority’s website, is an agency of the PVTA. A PVTA spokeswoman did not immediately return requests for comment Friday afternoon.

According to state law, the punishment for a first offense of possession of child pornography is a maximum five-year state prison sentence or a maximum 2½-year jail sentence, a fine between $1,000 and $10,000, or both a fine and imprisonment. Brocklesby is due back in court on Nov. 19. Judge Maureen Walsh presided over Wednesday’s arraignment.

Michael Connors can be reached at mconnors@gazettenet.com.


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