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Boston transportation manager arrested on child pornography charge

James M. Mansfield, a manager who has worked for Boston’s Transportation Department for nearly 30 years, was arrested Friday on a child pornography charge and placed on unpaid leave, officials said.

Boston police arrested Mansfield, 47, of Charlestown, after an Internet investigation found that he was “engaging in graphically sexual chat and exchanging pictures of boys in various stages of undress” on his personal computer, police said in a prepared statement Saturday.

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Jake Wark, spokesman for the Suffolk District Attorney’s Office, said Mansfield is scheduled to be arraigned Monday at Charlestown District Court.

Mansfield did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino released a statement Saturday saying he was deeply saddened by the allegations.

“As a father and grandfather, I am at a loss on what to say about this case other than to assure residents that this employee will no longer be employed by the city of Boston and that we will continue to cooperate in the investigation,” the mayor said. “Without question, this type of behavior is heinous, and many of his colleagues will be shocked by the news and grieving for the victims.”

Menino said the city is making counselors and outreach workers available at City Hall and in Charlestown “where Mr. Mansfield was an involved parent and resident.”

Dot Joyce, a spokeswoman for Menino, said Mansfield was notified in writing Saturday morning that he was being placed on unpaid leave pending the outcome of a termination hearing to be held in the coming week.

Joyce said Mansfield has worked for the Transportation Department since 1984. She said his payroll record identifies him as an executive assistant. But he sometimes served as a spokesman for the department, and in e-mails to a Globe reporter last month he referred to himself as director of community and intergovernmental services.

According to city payroll records, Mansfield made $104,173 in 2011.

Police said they found evidence of child pornography on Mansfield’s personal computer while executing a search warrant at his home.

An investigation is ongoing by Boston police detectives assigned to the Crimes Against Children Unit.

Joyce said city Transportation Commissioner Thomas Tinlin would not be available for comment.

Alli Knothe can be reached at aknothe@globe.com.

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