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Teacher pleads guilty to possession of child porn

RUTLAND — Former elementary school teacher Will Parini, 29, of Starksboro pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography last Thursday at the U.S. District Court in Rutland.
An FBI investigation, which stemmed from an investigation in Texas, led to Parini’s arrest in March. He was charged with possession and distribution of child pornography. At the time he was a music teacher at Bristol Elementary School and Robinson Elementary School in Starksboro.
Officials at the two schools said there was no evidence that Parini had had any inappropriate contact with students.
Parini’s plea was part of an agreement with the Vermont U.S. Attorney’s Office, and it requires the federal prosecutor to drop the charge of child pornography distribution at the time of sentencing.
“(Parini) pleaded guilty to a violation of possession of child pornography, which carries with it a 10-year maximum sentence,” U.S. Attorney Tristram Coffin told the Independent in an interview Thursday. A release by the U.S. Attorney’s office said that Parini also could be fined up to $250,000.
“In exchange for that, we agreed not to prosecute him in the district for other crimes,” Coffin said.
Coffin explained that possession of child pornography has no minimum sentence, while distribution of such content is punishable by a five-year minimum sentence.
Parini, who is represented by Middlebury attorney Peter Langrock, was detained after the hearing, and he will be held in a correctional facility until he is sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge for Vermont Christina Reiss. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 25 in Rutland.
In the meantime, the court will conduct a pre-sentencing investigation. Coffin explained that this investigation will be led by a court probation officer, who will submit to Reiss a report about the defendant and the events that have taken place.
“That report is a confidential document provided to both parties and the court, and it’s intended to guide the court in what sentence the court should impose,” said Coffin. “The court then applies those facts at the sentencing, and the parties are free to take positions on the appropriate sentence.”
Based on this investigation, Reiss will be presented with a guideline range of sentences.
“The judge is required to consider advisory sentencing guidelines,” said Coffin. “Those advisory sentencing guidelines set forth a whole bunch of factors for the court to consider about the offense and the prior record … of the defendant.”
As part of Parini’s plea deal, the U.S. Attorney’s Office agreed to push for a lesser punishment.
“We agreed to recommend that he be sentenced at the low end of the guideline range that is found by the court,” said Coffin.
Court records indicate that Parini traded images of child pornography via email in August and September 2010 with an individual residing in San Antonio, Texas. Court records further indicate that Parini distributed about 200 images of child pornography to this individual and received about 19 such images from him during that two-month period.
Reporter Andrew Stein is at [email protected].

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