Former DS Special Agent Pleads Guilty to Transportation of Child Pornography

James Charles Cafferty
Federal mug shot

I last blogged about Mr. Cafferty in October 2011 (See Diplomatic Security Special Agent Indicted for Possession and Receipt of Child Pornography).  On January 6, the FBI/Tampa Division announced that Mr. Cafferty pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas G. Wilson of Florida. Mr. Cafferty previously worked as an RSO at the US Embassy in London.  The US Embassy in London is one of our mega-embassies although not in
the Baghdad scale.  It has approximately 950 employees including about
450 direct-hire American employees, a couple dozens employed EFMs, and
some 465 locally employed staff.

WASHINGTON—A Largo, Florida resident pleaded guilty yesterday in the Middle District of Florida to one count of transportation of child pornography, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida Robert E. O’Neill and Special Agent in Charge Steven E. Ibison of the FBI’s Tampa Field Office.

James Charles Cafferty, 45, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas G. Wilson.

According to court documents and proceedings, Cafferty, who was a special agent for the Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, purchased memberships in several child pornography websites. A subsequent search warrant executed at Cafferty’s home revealed hard drives containing thousands of child pornography files. Cafferty admitted during an interview that he had shipped these hard drives from London to his home in Largo.

Cafferty faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, as well as the possibility of lifetime supervised release. Cafferty also faces a fine of $250,000.

This case was investigated by the FBI, the Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, and the Largo Police Department.

I don’t know if Mr. Cafferty quit or was fired.  This presumably is a firing offense under “notoriously disgraceful conduct” that which, were it to become widely known, would embarrass, discredit, or subject to opprobrium the perpetrator, the Foreign Service, and the United States:

“Disqualification of a candidate or discipline of an employee, including separation for cause, is warranted when the potential for opprobrium or
contempt should the conduct become public knowledge could be reasonably expected to affect adversely the person’s ability to perform his or her own job or the agency’s ability to carry out its responsibilities. “

The Center for Problem-Oriented Policing has put together a guide on the problem of Internet child pornography. It notes that “users of Internet child pornography
are not necessarily involved in hands-on sexual abuse of children.” The guide says that it is not known exactly how many people may access child pornography on
the Internet without ever physically abusing a child. Before the
Internet, between one-fifth and one-third of people arrested for
possession of child pornography were also involved in
actual abuse.

Apparently offenders also come from all walks of life and show few warning signs: “[U]sers of child pornography on the Internet are more than
likely to be in a relationship, to be employed, to have an above average
IQ, to be college educated, and to not have a criminal record. Those
arrested for online child pornography crimes have included judges,
dentists, teachers, academics, rock stars, soldiers, and police