A federal judge sentenced former Granby police captain and Suffield police officer David Bourque today to 10 years in prison for compiling one of the largest known collections of child pornography in the state.
Bourque, 51, to one count of the receipt and distribution of child pornography after investigators discovered on several computers 20,282 images and 4,084 videos that primarily depicted boys under the age of 14 engaged in sexual acts. The more heinous images involved toddlers and, in at least one instance, a baby.
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“You collected an extraordinary amount of child pornography,” Judge Alvin Thompson said at the U.S. District Court in Hartford on Friday afternoon.
Under federal sentencing guidelines, Bourque faced a maximum of 20 years in prison, while his attorney argued for less than 5 years.
Thompson noted that the sheer volume of Bourque’s collection, coupled with his role as a law enforcement officer led him to impose a long prison sentence despite Bourque’s guilty plea and subsequent cooperation with federal authorities in other investigations.
Among the most significant factors in Judge Thompson reaching his decision was Bourque’s attendance at a law enforcement seminar concerning the efforts that the FBI was making to detect and catch those engaged in the trafficking of child pornography.
Judge Thompson noted that Bourque approached an FBI agent and inquired as to what efforts were being made to infiltrate the platform that Bourque was using to trade images and videos.
Thompson called Bourque’s effort as a law enforcement official to use the conference to help avoid detection as “nothing short of outrageous.” Thompson also found that Bourque used his role as a police officer to help others evade detection.
Under federal law, the earliest that Bourque can be released is after 8.5 years, according to Bourque's lawyer, Richard Brown. After his prison term, Bourque faces 10 years of supervised release, as well as 10 other conditions that he must adhere to, including registering as a sex offender and no unsupervised contact with children under the age of 18 without permission from the U.S. Department of Probation.
Outside the courthouse, Brown expressed his disappointment with the judge's sentencing.
"Ten years in my opinion is still a long time in a case like this, but the court felt that based upon the aggravating circumstances articulated in court that he deserved more than the average person," Brown said. "On the other hand, he did give him significant consideration based upon his cooperation."
Despite his disappointment, Brown said that there were no plans to appeal the sentence.
In a press release, U.S. Attorney David Fein said that the sentence was fair.
"This lengthy term of imprisonment is appropriate for any individual who possesses and distributes child pornography, but especially a police officer who so flagrantly violated his oath to uphold the law," Fein wrote. "I commend the Connecticut State Police Computer Crimes Unit, the FBI and the Connecticut Computer Crimes Task Force for their joint investigation of the matter, and the tireless work they do every day to investigate these crimes in order to protect children from exploitation."
Bourque was remanded into custody immediately, based on the federal prosecutors' argument that Bourque presented a threat to himself; Bourque allegedly attempted to commit suicide in April 2011 just prior to his arrest.
Prior to the judge imposing the sentence, Bourque apologized to his family, friends and former co-workers for his actions.
“I lost my way,” he said. “The fact that I viewed child pornography is beyond comprehension. … I have wronged so many people. I am ashamed.”
Thompson imposed the sentence on Bourque despite the apology and the impassioned pleas of his attorney, Richard Brown, one of his daughters, Caitlin, and a family friend.
Brown argued that Bourque, who also served on the Suffield police department for 30 years, amassed the child pornography collection over a period of just seven months - from August 2010 to February 2011 - due to his post traumatic stress disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder, which were diagnosed subsequent to his arrest.
Bourque sustained the PTSD, Brown claimed, from the 15 years he served on the North Central Municipal Regional Accident Reconstruction Team, on which he witnessed between 150 and 200 fatalities, not to mention numerous scenes at which victims were seriously injured.
Bourque had come under fire in October 2010 when he failed to remain at a fatal accident involving former Windsor Locks police officer Michael Koistinen; Bourque and his team were removed from the case when it was found that Koistinen was not administered a blood-alcohol test at the scene of the accident that killed 15-year-old Henry Dang.
Brown also said that Bourque was sexually assaulted by a family friend when he was a child, something that was revealed only when Bourque was being polygraphed by federal investigators over the course of several hours after he was arrested.
In addition, Brown said that Bourque had quickly accepted his guilt and cooperated with state and federal investigators in other child pornography cases. Brown argued that there was no evidence that Bourque ever molested a child or that he manufactured child pornography, nor was there evidence that Bourque ever viewed all of the images contained in his computer files.
Brown also took the opportunity to rail against the federal sentencing guidelines, which called for Bourque to be incarcerated for between 17.5 and 20 years. Brown requested that the judge waive the sentencing guidelines and impose a prison sentence of less than five years.
Caitlin Bourque tearfully asked the judge for leniency, stating that her father was a good, hard working man who lost his way. In addition, Caitlin Bourque said that her father would not be able to receive the proper treatment he needed in prison for his several mental disorders.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ray Miller, however, dismissed those arguments, stating that the court should focus on the crime itself.
“This individual amassed a huge collection of child pornography over a relatively short period of time,” Miller said. “He had the full panoply from images, to videos to stories describing child molestation.”
Miller cited from the government’s sentencing brief a chat that Bourque had with someone he was trading pornography with in which Bourque states that he had images involving young boys being raped and engaged in bondage.
“He had a catalog in his head of what’s new and what’s old,” Miller said.
After he retired from the Suffield police department after 30 years of service, Bourque became a Granby police captain and was widely considered the heir apparent to then-Chief of Police David Watkins.
After his arrest, from the Granby police department upon receiving $30,000 for accrued vacation and sick time.