'Child porn on laptop, police say'

Last modified: 1/6/2011 12:00:00 AM
A repeat sex offender who briefly lived in a Concord parking garage after serving a prison sentence has again been arrested and charged with possessing child pornography.

Jonathan Perfetto, 36, of Manchester was reported to the police last month by a Manchester pawn shop owner, who found pornographic images on a laptop Perfetto had sold, according to the Manchester police.

Perfetto, who had bought the laptop from the shop several weeks earlier, told the police he was having urges for children and received pornographic images from people over the internet, a number of which he saved to his laptop so he could "burn them to a CD-R for later use," according to a police affidavit.

The police arrested him Tuesday and charged him with five counts of possession of child pornography. He was ordered held on $100,000 cash bail during an arraignment yesterday in Manchester District Court.

The arrest marks the latest in a series of sex-related charges against Perfetto, who told the Monitor in 2008 that at the age of 17 he began sexually assaulting people, including a young relative. For that assault, he served a short sentence at the Sununu Youth Services Center in Manchester.

In 1999, he was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman and was sent to the Merrimack County jail, where he stayed until July 2000.

But he was caught with child pornography on his laptop in 2001 and arrested. He pleaded guilty in March 2002 to 61 counts of possession of child pornography.

On those charges, Perfetto was sentenced to 3½ to seven years in state prison, with a 14- to 28-year sentence suspended for 10 years on condition of good behavior.

He left prison without the supervision of a parole officer in October 2008 after maxing out his sentence. He couldn't find housing and slept in a Concord parking garage, telling the Monitor he was scared he would reoffend.

Although he soon found a place to rent in Manchester, he was sent back to jail in 2009 after he was convicted of making a false report about his cellmate in the prison.

He left the Hillsborough County jail Nov. 16, and since then had been living in a furnished room on Chestnut Street in Manchester, according to his mother, Jackie Bennett.

Bennett, who previously expressed concern that Perfetto wasn't being monitored after his release, said in a phone conversation yesterday that she was upset to learn of the latest charges.

Since getting out of jail in November, Perfetto had been seeing a therapist once a week, and "he seemed to be doing pretty well," Bennett said.

Bennett, who lives in Manchester, said she had seen Perfetto often in the past two months and supervised him on trips to the library. She said Perfetto is still a practicing Jehovah's Witness, though the state Supreme Court recently denied his request to be allowed to worship at a congregation where children might be present.

Perfetto also talked about moving out of state and starting life over, Bennett said.

"I just don't understand why Jonathan did this," she said. "It doesn't make any sense to me."

According to the police affidavit, Perfetto bought the computer Dec. 2 and sold it back to the shop Dec. 24. As part of his practice, the owner of the shop - N.H. Pawn Shop on Elm Street - inspected the computer's contents, according to the affidavit.

He called the police after finding pornographic images, which the police said were saved on the computer's desktop in a folder named "John," according to the affidavit.

Perfetto told the police he was the only person who had control over the computer, according to the affidavit.

Possession of child pornography is a felony carrying a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. State statute says anyone previously convicted of child pornography can be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.

Prosecutors may also seek to impose the suspended sentence Perfetto received when he pleaded guilty to the child pornography charges in 2002.

Barbara Keshen, the staff attorney with the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union who represented Perfetto in his appeal to the Supreme Court, said in September that Perfetto's suspended sentence barred him from owning or accessing a computer.

Maureen O'Neil of the Hillsborough County Attorney's Office, who prosecuted the earlier pornography charges against Perfetto, said she didn't have access to Perfetto's file yesterday and couldn't comment on the conditions of the suspended sentence.

"We will be reviewing his closed file in relation to the new arrest," she said.

(Maddie Hanna can be reached at 369-3321 or mhanna@cmonitor.com.)


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