Salem man charged with collecting thousands of images of children and teens

·2 min read

Jun. 29—SALEM — A Salem man is facing charges of possessing thousands of images and videos of children and teenage girls — some of which investigators believe were secretly recorded in his own bathroom with a hidden cell phone.

Todd P. Lebrasseur, 49, pleaded not guilty to three counts of possessing child pornography during his arraignment Wednesday afternoon in Salem District Court.

Prosecutors dropped a fourth charge, involving secret electronic surveillance in a restroom, because that statute does not apply to private homes, but are expected to replace it with a different charge.

Prosecutor Kelly Waldo told a judge that state police received information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children last November, after Google reported that it had detected 67 illegal images uploaded to its Google Drive app.

The images, depicting girls between 5 and 9 years old, came from an email account and internet address associated with Lebrasseur, the prosecutor said.

After getting a search warrant on Tuesday, state police detectives went to Lebrasseur's home in Salem, where, until his arrest, he was living with his family.

He wasn't home, so they called him and he agreed to meet the troopers there, Waldo told Judge Randy Chapman. But before getting home, he pulled a memory card from his phone, broke it and tossed it from the window of his car, the prosecutor said.

In an interview at his home, Lebrasseur allegedly told the detectives he was part of an online group that exchanged images of children.

Police seized multiple thumb drives and a computer as well as the phone, and believe there are thousands of images and videos on those devices.

Some of those videos, the prosecutor said, appear to come from a phone camera hidden in his bathroom, the prosecutor said, calling the facts "appalling."

She asked Chapman to set bail at $50,000, citing the likelihood of an indictment and a state prison term in the case.

A lawyer representing Lebrasseur on Wednesday said he is a restaurant worker in Swampscott who might be able to come up with $2,000 to $3,000 in bail. He stressed Lebrasseur's ties to the North Shore, where he grew up, in Lynn, and has family, including a brother in Beverly with whom he intends to stay if released.

Chapman, noting for the record that under the current bail law he cannot consider a defendant's potential danger to the community on a child pornography charge, set bail at $15,000 cash.

If Lebrasseur posts that bail, he will be required to wear a GPS monitoring bracelet and stay away from the victims, witnesses, and his now-former home in Salem, as well as having no contact with anyone under 18. He was also ordered not to use the internet.

A pretrial hearing is scheduled for July 26.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis