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Former police chief charged with distributing child porn

UPDATED: Tue., May 25, 2021

Associated Press

Associated Press

MISSOULA – The former police chief in East Helena made an initial appearance in federal court Tuesday on a complaint alleging he distributed child pornography via Facebook Messenger.

William Daly Harrington, 42, was arrested Tuesday. He did not enter a plea during his appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen L. DeSoto in Missoula. Harrington was detained pending a detention hearing Wednesday. He is expected to enter a plea June 3.

His attorney, Scott Albers of Helena, declined to comment Tuesday.

According to the criminal complaint, an FBI agent received a tip from Facebook in September 2020 that an account that was later determined to belong to Harrington shared a sexually explicit image involving a girl who was about 10 years old.

Further investigation found Harrington shared several images of pornography with another Facebook account, determined to belong to Harrington’s girlfriend, between November 2019 and August 2020. More than a dozen of the images appeared to be photos of minors in their early teens, court records said.

A search of Harrington’s cellphone turned up additional images, court records said.

Harrington spent about 12 years with the East Helena Police Department and was promoted to chief in April 2019. He was placed on paid administrative leave in February after the city learned of an allegation of sexual assault against him, the Independent Record reported. Harrington resigned from the department March 5.

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