MASSENA - A Massena man charged last week with possessing child pornography told state police investigators in a three-page statement that he couldnt explain his actions.
I dont understand why I am interested in child pornography, Christopher J. Durand said in the statement he signed for state police investigators.
Massena-based state police Bureau of Criminal Investigations charged Durand, 34, last week with a felony count of possessing a sexual performance by a child and a felony count of promoting a sexual performance by a child.
He was arraigned in village court Friday and sent to the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility with bail set at $50,000 cash or $100,000 bond, to reappear Wednesday afternoon.
Troopers said the charges stemmed from an investigation initiated by the New York State Police Internet Crimes against Children Task Force and the New York State Police Computer Crimes Unit. They were assisted by the Massena Police Department in the investigation.
State police seized and examined a Dell Dimension 2350 computer, USB flash drives and a cell phone when they executed a search warrant at his Andrews Street apartment. Investigators, in court documents, said the items contained hundreds of photos and videos featuring sexual performances by children.
Troopers also alleged Durand had uploaded at midnight July 13 four video files containing images of pre-pubescent children engaging in sex acts.
Durand, in his statement to police, said he had worked for Tamarack for several years but left after suffering a back injury. He said he then worked for a time at a tire business in Ogdensburg before quitting that job three years ago and going on disability.
He said he moved to Massena from Potsdam and had spent his days caring for his dog, watching television and on his computer.
He said he visited a child pornography website about three years ago.
This website sells child pornography, and you can preview pictures on this site. I first started downloading child pornography from this website. The website also had a chat function, where I met other people and traded child pornography with them, he noted in his statement.
He said he met a man he identified as Dave from Minnesota in the chat room. Dave directed me toward a lot of links and chat sites on the web related to child pornography. If it wasnt for Dave, I wouldnt know anything about the stuff, Durand added.
Dave also set a Yahoo mail account, Durand said, noting the password and user name were shared initially with five people.
The group used that account to place and exchange child pornography, and Durand said the number of people with access to that account had grown over the past two years.
I would never hurt a child. In the past, I have had opportunities to molest children. I could never hurt a child and when I say hurt I mean not only physically hurt them but molest them. I could never do that. I was abused as a child, and I know how bad it feels and could never do that to a child, he said in his statement.
He acknowledged there had been incidents involving an 8-year-old girl in the summer of 2011 and a 4-year-old girl about seven years ago when he might have touched a childs intimate parts, but he said both incidents were accidents. He said he had apologized to the 8-year-old for the accidental touch and suggested the pre-school child had initiated the contact in that incident.
Durand said he couldnt understand his interest in child pornography.
I dont know why I am doing these things. I dont get it. I apologize to anybody I hurt, and I need help, he told investigators in his statement.
Massena Town Justice James M. Crandall had ordered Durand to undergo a psychological evaluation while he was incarcerated.
Troopers said Friday the investigation is ongoing and additional charges are anticipated. State police urged anyone with additional information to contact Investigator Timothy Peets at 315-769-8439.