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Bennington Man Arrested for Promotion and Possession of Child Sex Abuse Materials

July 13, 2021

CONTACT:  Charity R. Clark, Chief of Staff, 802-828-3171

Attorney General T.J. Donovan announced that Michael Powers, 27, of Bennington, Vermont, was arraigned today on two felony counts of Promotion of Child Sexual Abuse Materials, seven misdemeanor counts and one felony count of Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials, and one count of Resisting Arrest. The charges brought against Mr. Powers are the result of a criminal investigation—including the execution of residential and online data search warrants—conducted by the Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (VT-ICAC), including personnel from the Attorney General’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, the Vermont State Police, and the Bennington Police Department.

The investigation was initiated when the VT-ICAC Task Force received CyberTipline Reports from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that an individual was distributing what was suspected to be images of child sexual abuse materials, commonly referred to as “child pornography,” on the Instagram social media platform. Based upon the criminal investigation of these tips, Mr. Powers was identified as the source of the suspected content on the identified SnapChat accounts. Additionally, during the execution of a search warrant on Mr. Powers’ residence this morning, Mr. Powers attempted to resist arrest but was safely taken into custody without any injury to himself or officers. An on-scene forensic examination of Mr. Power’s smartphone revealed the possession of additional child sexual abuse materials.

Mr. Powers pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in the Vermont Superior Court, Bennington Criminal Division. The Court, Judge Cortland T. Corsones presiding, ordered conditions of release which prohibit Mr. Powers’ access to minors, the internet, and devices capable of accessing the internet during the pendency of the case.

The VT-ICAC Task Force investigates cases of child sexual exploitation occurring over the internet, including the production and online distribution of child sexual abuse materials. The VT-ICAC Task Force also provides forensic examination services, technical assistance, law enforcement training, and public education and outreach. The Attorney General’s Office, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Vermont State Police, Homeland Security Investigations and other federal, state, county, and municipal law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies are affiliated with the VT-ICAC Task Force.

The Attorney General emphasizes that individuals charged with a crime are legally presumed innocent until their guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.