A 40-year-old citizen of the United Kingdom, most recently living in Worcester, pleaded guilty Monday to charges of soliciting the kidnapping of a child and distribution of child pornography after authorities found a dungeon and child-sized coffin in his basement, the US attorney’s office said.
Geoffrey Portway engaged in numerous online chats with many like-minded individuals to trade child pornography, share photos of children personally known to him, and discuss a mutual interest in abducting, brutally raping, murdering, and eating the children, according to details of a plea agreement, said Christina DiIorio-Sterling, a spokeswoman for US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz.
The investigation, which began in Milford in 2010, has expanded to Europe and beyond, said Bruce M. Foucart, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston. “We have been able to rescue 160 children and arrest 51 perpetrators worldwide,” he said.
Portway was arrested July 29, 2012, said DiIorio-Sterling. Under the terms of a plea agreement, Portway pleaded guilty to solicitation to commit a crime of violence (kidnapping a child) and distribution and possession of child pornography, she said.
He will be sentenced on Aug. 2 to between 216 and 327 months in prison, a lifetime of supervised release, and will be registered as a Level 3 sex offender, according to the US attorney’s spokeswoman.
Portway will also be deported after serving his sentence.
In a stark development, DiIorio-Sterling said that when federal agents, along with state and local police, executed a federal search warrant at Portway’s Worcester residence to seize computers and digital devices containing the evidence in July of 2012, they discovered the dungeon.
The soundproof room contained a homemade child’s coffin with exterior locking devices and a steel table top with steel rings, presumably for restraints.
Through his online chats, Portway solicited several people, including a man named Michael Arnett of Kansas, for help in abducting a child, DiIorio-Sterling said.
Portway also repeatedly solicited Arnett to kidnap a child for him, whom he later intended to rape, kill, and eat, she said.
Arnett has since pleaded guilty in Kansas to sexual exploitation of a child for the purposes of producing child pornography, the spokeswoman said.