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Ex-city cop pleads guilty to child porn possession

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Floral Park resident Brian Mathews, an ex-New York City police officer and former delegate to the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, pleaded guilty to a charge of possessing child pornography last Thursday, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District.

Mathews was one of six Queens residents who were among the 20 metropolitan area men arrested in the FBI’s nationwide kidde-porn sting operation in which 89 people from 20 states were arrested in March.

He is expected to draw between 27 and 33 months in jail under the plea bargain agreement, said U.S. Attorney Katya Jestin. Mathews was facing a maximum sentence of 15 years in jail and a $250,000 fine for each count if convicted in court.

The 20 men have been charged on various counts with possession of child pornography.

Jestin said Mathews kept the child porn photos stored in his Web TV “locker,” which he could access from home and was the only one who had entry. Jestin said Mathews was indicted on 10 counts, but “pled to one count.”

Mathews’ attorney, Ken Kaplan, refused to comment on the case.

The 20 men, all allegedly members of the same Internet chat group maintained by Yahoo, were arrested March 21 as part of a 14-month nationwide investigation called “Operation Candyman,” said U.S. Attorney General Alan Vinegrad in the Eastern District of New York at the time of the arrest.

“He is the third to plead,” said Jestin. “All were indicted on possession of child pornography.”

Ismael Hernandez of Elmhurst also pleaded guilty and the third defendant to do so is from another borough, she said.

Mathews, 40, was dismissed from the New York Police Department in 1998 for allegedly trading in child pornography even though charges were not filed at that time, according to a source close to the investigation.

Among other Queens men arrested were Mathew Coplan of Oakland Gardens, Salvatore Buttiglieri of Maspeth, Edward Noble Roberts of Astoria and John Despirito of Glendale.

The FBI was able to identify the members of the Internet group through the screen names each used when they subscribed to the site. Authorities said the site, which allowed its members to correspond with each other, proclaimed: “This group is for people who love kids. You can post any type of messages you like, too, or any type of pics and vids you like, too.”

According to the U.S. attorney’s office, analysis of the defendants’ computers determined that some had large collections of child pornography and some included images of children as young as a year old.

Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

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