By LINDSAY OLIVIER
NORTH KINGSTOWN – A North Kingstown man pleaded guilty in Providence federal court Tuesday morning to being in possession of over 7,500 images of child pornography.
Leon Tousignant, 67, of 2180 Tower Hill Road, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography and could face up to 10 years in a federal prison with a supervised release for a term of five years to life, and up to a $250,000 fine when he’s sentenced on March 15, 2012 before Chief U.S. District Court Judge Mary Lisi.
Because this is a federal case, Tousignant will not be eligible for parole and has to serve a minimum of 85 percent of his sentence, which is around eight and half years.
Tousignant was arrested on June 28 at his residence by the North Kingstown Police Department with the assistance of the Rhode Island State Police Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.
The investigation began when Stephen LaRoche came to police headquarters with a Toshiba laptop computer. He was visibly upset and told officers he had found child pornography on it and felt the need to report the matter. The laptop was located in his residence which he shares with his mother and her companion, Tousignant. He reportedly came across the content by accident because he was trying to get an internet connection on his laptop and, when he couldn’t, he said he tried Tousignant’s because he’s the network administrator for the residence and LaRoche thought he had changed the password.
As LaRoche was browsing through the programs, he came across numerous thumbnails that included images and videos containing children and non-consenting adults.
Tousignant admitted in court Tuesday that LaRoche discovered more than 600 images of child pornography on his laptop in June and that several thousand images were discovered on a thumb drive in his residence by North Kingstown police.
The images contained pre-pubescent minors below the age of 12 engaged in sexually explicit conduct and have since been turned over to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to determine if any known and previously identified victims are included in those images.
The ICAC is a Department of Justice grand-funded program administered by the Rhode Island State Police Computer Crimes Unit. It consists of five state police detectives, detectives from the Providence, West Warwick and Coventry police departments and an agent from the Homeland Security Investigations. The purpose of the task force is to effectively and efficiently prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute online child exploitation and child pornography crimes.