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City worker denies child porn charges

A Boston Transportation Depart­ment manager who stands accused of having online discussions about sexual activity with young boys and keeping a cache of illicit images pleaded not guilty Monday to child pornography charges, officials said.

James Mansfield, 47, of Charlestown was ordered held on $20,000 cash bail at his arraign­ment in Charlestown District Court on charges that he possessed more than 100 ­illegal images on his laptop computer and a flash drive, prosecutors said.

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Mansfield’s lawyer, James Cipoletta, said in a phone interview that his client’s family posted bail later in the day.

“He denies that he has done anything whatsoever that is illegal,” Cipoletta said. “. . . He has the full love and support of his family and friends, many of whom attended the court proceeding this morning.”

Mansfield, a longtime Transportation Department employee, was arrested Friday evening after Boston police executed a search warrant at his home.

Police recovered images that depicted children under the age of 16 in sexualized contexts, ­after receiving a tip from State Police that Mansfield was ­engaged in the online chats, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office said.

Prosecutors said State Police forwarded a tip to Boston ­detectives from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children about the alleged activ­ity. Information in a chat transcript led investigators to Mansfield’s personal iPhone and to his home, Conley’s office said.

Cipoletta declined to discuss the material that authorities seized. “I haven’t seen it, and [Mansfield] hasn’t seen it, so neither of us [is] in a position to make any comment on that,” Cipoletta said.

While on bail, Mansfield must abide by several conditions, including refraining from the use of computers and other electronics, prosecutors said. He is also barred from having unsupervised contact with his children and from having any contact with other youths ­under the age of 18, according to a statement from Conley’s ­office.

Mansfield is scheduled to return to court Nov. 15.

He is on unpaid leave, pending the outcome of a termination hearing scheduled for this week.

Mayor Thomas M. ­Menino said in a statement Saturday that Mansfield’s alleged conduct was “heinous” and that colleagues would be stunned and “grieving for the victims.”

Travis Andersen can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.
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