May 29—A Manchester man admitted Wednesday that he possessed child pornography in November 2019 and received a one-year prison sentence, online court records show.
Brian Swanston Mclarney, 39, pleaded guilty in Hartford Superior Court to third-degree child pornography possession. His prison time will be followed by 10 years' probation, with the possibility of up to three more years behind bars if he violates release conditions.
Mclarney was originally charged with first-degree child pornography possession, which carries a five-year mandatory minimum sentence, while third-degree possession carries a one-year mandatory minimum.
Mclarney had no prior criminal record, prosecutor David Zagaja said, according to an audio recording of the hearing. Plea bargains in which child pornography offenders are permitted to plead guilty to third-degree possession and sentenced to a year in prison are common.
Because the sentence is mandatory, Mclarney will have to spend his full sentence in state Department of Correction custody, rather than being eligible for release after serving half the time, as most state prisoners are when serving sentences up to two years.
"I would say Mr. Mclarney is taking this case seriously," defense lawyer Trent LaLima told the Journal Inquirer on Thursday. "He has undergone significant treatment and has turned himself around."
DEFENDANT: Brian Swanston Mclarney, 39, of Manchester
GUILTY PLEA: Third-degree child pornography possession
SENTENCE: Four years, suspended after a year in prison, followed by 10 years' probation
TREATMENT: Started even before his arrest on Jan. 31, 2020
LaLima said Mclarney began treatment before he was arrested on Jan. 31, 2020.
Judge Laura F. Baldini ordered Mclarney to undergo substance abuse evaluation and any recommended treatment in addition to other forms of counseling and treatment that the probation office may require during his decade on probation.
Police had searched Mclarney's home and seized his digital devices in November 2019. On his phone, police say, they found 23 images and five videos of child pornography. Police say they found 40 more images and a video of child pornography in his Dropbox account.
He was free on $50,000 bond while the case was in court and was taken into custody at the end of Wednesday's sentencing hearing.
Police say the investigation that led to Mclarney's conviction started in the summer of 2019 when they received a tip about suspected child pornography on a video streaming website and application that is now defunct. Police reviewed the images and found that 21 were child pornography.
With the help of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's investigative arm, police discovered that the images were uploaded from Mclarney's address in Manchester, which led to the November 2019 search.
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