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Waltham police officer held in child porn case

Was 2011 winner in state lottery

Paul Manganelli won $1 million from a scratch ticket. Now he is on paid leave.

Massachusetts State Lottery

Paul Manganelli won $1 million from a scratch ticket. Now he is on paid leave.

A 20-year-veteran of the Waltham Police Department who hit it big with a $1 million lottery jackpot in 2011 is facing a child pornography charge ­after he admitted to the FBI that he sent and received ­obscene images of young girls online, according to officials and court records.

Paul Charles Manganelli Jr., 46, of Waltham, had his lottery dreams shattered Monday when he was arrested on the charge and had to appear in federal court in Boston Tuesday. He did not enter a plea and was ordered held without bail pending a detention hearing Thursday.

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Neither a federal prosecutor nor Manganelli’s lawyer, Peter Bella, discussed details of the case in court. Bella declined to comment afterward.

Manganelli acknowledged that he received and sent illicit images and claimed that “he was doing research in an ­attempt to identify perverts ­online,” FBI Special Agent Eric S. Slaton wrote in a criminal complaint.

However, Waltham police said that Manganelli was never assigned to investigate child pornography, and there is no indication that he reported any such activity, Slaton wrote.

The complaint includes several excerpts from e-mail messages that Manganelli allegedly wrote to people who sent him illegal photos and videos of prepubescent girls engaged in sex acts.

“Thank you! Thank You! Thank You! I love her!” he allegedly wrote in December 2011 to someone in Britain.

Manganelli wrote in the same message that he recently wrestled with “my little one” and touched her inappropriately, according to the complaint.

“I think she likes it, and she didn’t get mad like in the past,” he wrote, according to one ­excerpt.

It was not clear whom he was referring to.

The officer is divorced and has sons, but no daughter, accord­ing to a law enforcement official who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.

Manganelli joined a website to meet other people interested in child pornography and wrote in one e-mail message that “I am addicted! I love the girls ­ages 7 to 11 or so,” the complaint states.

Manganelli claimed a big $1 million state lottery prize in April 2011, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts State Lottery confirmed on Tuesday.

He has also worked as a disc jockey DJ at P & M Sound, a company that he started with a friend. The company website lists children’s parties as one of several offerings.

Now, Manganelli faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted, as well as a maximum fine of $250,000 and a lifetime of super­vised release.

Waltham police said in a statement that Manganelli, who joined the force in 1993, has been placed on paid administrative leave.

The department would not say whether he has any prior disciplinary record.

Keith MacPherson, the ­acting police chief, said in a statement that “the alleged off-duty conduct of one employee is not a reflection of the Waltham ­Police Department as a whole.”

Manganelli, dressed in gray slacks and a white collared shirt with gray pinstripes, said little during Tuesday’s hearing.

Bella requested that “some special accommodation” be made to protect his client while he is in custody, since he is a ­police officer.

The US Marshals Service is in charge of where Manganelli is being held, and the US Attorney’s office said they typically do not divulge that information.

Chief Magistrate Judge Leo T. Sorokin said he would direct the marshals to ensure ­Manganelli’s safety.

But he stopped short of ordering that he be placed in segregation.

He said of Manganelli’s job, “I agree . . . that that’s information they should be aware of.”

Globe correspondent Jaclyn ­Reiss contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@globe.com. ­Follow him on Twitter
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