Green Mountain Union High School Teacher Charged with Producing Child Sexual Abuse Material | USAO-VT

The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced that Norman Merrill II, 45, of Chester, Vermont, was arrested today after having been indicted by a federal grand jury for charges related to the production and possession of child sexual abuse material, also known as child pornography.  Merrill is expected to appear before United States Magistrate Judge Kevin J. Doyle tomorrow.   The government has filed a motion requesting defendant Merrill be detained pending trial.

According to court records, on May 7, 2022, officers from the Chester Police Department received reports concerning potential voyeurism occurring at Merrill’s home.  The investigation uncovered allegations of a hidden recording device in a bathroom at Merrill’s home, and that Merrill appeared to surreptitiously record young girls who were walking in front of him while at Green Mountain High School, where he is employed as a teacher.  Chester Police Officers obtained search warrants for Merrill’s home and electronics.  The search warrants were executed on May 11, 2022, and Chester Police Officers seized numerous electronic devices, including “pinhole cameras” and a “spy camera.”  The Vermont State Police conducted a preliminary examination of a memory card seized from the residence which revealed numerous voyeuristic videos taken in bathrooms.  Some of these videos were taken in a bathroom of defendant Merrill’s residence and were determined to depict nude minor female children.  The memory card also contained image files that appear to be screen-captures created from these videos of nude minors.  

On May 19, 2022, the federal grand jury in Burlington returned an Indictment charging Merrill with production of child sexual abuse material, attempted production of child sexual abuse material, and possession of child sexual abuse material.  The United States Attorney’s Office emphasizes that an Indictment contains allegations only and that Merrill is presumed innocent until and unless convicted of a crime.  If convicted of all charges, Merrill faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years of imprisonment, and a maximum sentence of 30 years of imprisonment.

United States Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest commended the investigatory efforts of the Chester Police Department, Vermont State Police, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations.  

The prosecutor is Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan Ophardt.  Merrill has not yet retained or been appointed counsel.   

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and Child Exploitation Obscenity Section, Criminal Division (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

Source link

Author: Editor
The website is owned by STL.News, LLC. However, the website is hosted, designed, and maintained by WebTech Group, a web host, and design agency based in St. Louis, Missouri. USDOJ.Today focuses on aggregating content from the US Attorney's Offices around the country. STL.News uses this content to publish national news at https://STL.News