Sixteen years in prison for Massachusetts postal worker who used a USPS computer for child pornography, sexually exploited a child

BOSTON – A former United States Postal Service (USPS) employee was sentenced today in federal court in Worcester for sexually exploiting a child, using USPS computers to access child pornography, and possessing child pornography.

Stephen Mantha, 64, of Spencer, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman to 196 months in prison and five years of supervised release. In February 2018, Mantha pleaded guilty to one count of producing child pornography, one count of accessing child pornography and one count of possessing of child pornography.

In the summer of 2015, investigators from the USPS Office of Inspector General (OIG) were alerted to suspicious internet searches being conducted on a computer at a Shrewsbury postal facility where Mantha worked as an electronic technician. In the course of the investigation, agents installed a computer activity recorder, which tracked all computer usage on that computer, and, a video camera, which recorded the identity of the person using the computer. Agents were then able to observe and record as Mantha searched for, and viewed, child pornography on USPS computers.

A search of Mantha’s residence resulted in the recovery of numerous thumb drives containing child pornography. During the review of the materials seized from Mantha’s home, a video was discovered, which had been recorded in approximately 2000 or 2001, depicting Mantha sexually abusing an approximately seven-year-old boy. Agents were able to locate and interview the boy (now an adult), who confirmed the sexual abuse.

In 2000 and 2001, the date of the offense, the charge of sexual exploitation of a child provided for a mandatory minimum of 10 years and no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Although existing penalties for producing child pornography are substantially higher, the Constitution prohibits the government from subjecting individuals to more stringent penalties adopted after their crimes had been committed.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Matthew Modafferi, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Postal Service, Office of the Inspector General, Northeast Area Office; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Spencer Police Chief David Darrin; and Shrewsbury Police Chief James Hester Jr. made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Grady of Lelling’s Worcester Branch Office prosecuted the case.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.