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Man who took photos of Kerry’s home faces child porn charges

Vladimir Romanov (right) at a Boston court last year.

Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Vladimir Romanov (right) at a Boston court last year.

A Russian man who was allegedly spotted taking photos of US Secretary of State John F. Kerry’s Beacon Hill home last summer was ordered held on $25,000 bail after his arraignment today on child pornography possession charges.

Vladimir Romanov, 30, was arrested this morning at his home in the city’s Chestnut Hill section by Boston police and agents from the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Suffolk County prosecutors said.

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Romanov had been indicted Friday by a Suffolk County grand jury on six counts of possession of child pornography, District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office said in a statement.

Romanov was arraigned before Clerk Magistrate Gary Wilson, who imposed the bail requested by Assistant District Attorney Luke Goldworm, who called Romanov not a flight risk, but a “flight certainty.” Wilson also set numerous conditions if Romanov is able to post bail, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors’ statements today did not mention Kerry by name, referring only to Romanov’s “suspicious activity” on July 14 outside the Beacon Hill home of a “federally protected U.S. official.”

But the Globe reported last year that Romanov was taken into custody that day after he parked in a no-parking zone and began taking photographs of Kerry’s Louisburg Square home.

Prosecutors said today that after his Beacon Hill arrest Romanov “allegedly made statements indicating his involvement in a plot against the U.S. official,” which led diplomatic security agents to launch an investigation. That probe included a search for evidence on Romanov’s laptop during which agents discovered “graphic impages of prepubescent children,” prosecutors said.

The Globe reported last summer that Kerry was visiting his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital when diplomatic security agents spotted Romanov photographing the Kerrys’ home. At the time, Heinz Kerry was recovering after falling ill on Nantucket.

Police spotted an open bottle of blackberry brandy in Romanov’s car, authorities said. In the vehicle, police said, they also found a Ruger pellet gun, three cellphones, and a black canvas bag holding seven carbon dioxide cartridges.

After initially balking at identifying himself when questioned by diplomatic security agents, Romanov was charged only with drinking alcohol in public by Boston police.

Romanov is to return to court on March 4 for a hearing in his child pornography case.

John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.
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