Area police

Guilty plea entered in distribution of child porn

A Cattaraugus woman has pleaded guilty to the distribution of child pornography.

U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Melanie Thompson, 46, made the plea before U.S. District Judge John L. Sinatra, Jr. The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum of 20 years, and a $250,000 fine.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey T. Fiut, who is handling the case, stated that between Jan. 9, 2017, and March 6, 2020, the defendant took sexually explicit photographs of Victim 1, a minor, in furtherance of her plan to impersonate Victim 1. Thereafter, defendant, while impersonating Victim 1, engaged in conversations of a sexual nature with two minor male victims (Victims 2 and 3) and one adult. During those conversations, defendant: solicited a sexually explicit picture from Victim 2; sent, via social media, the sexually explicit photograph she had taken of Victim 1 to Victim 3, receiving two sexually explicit images in return from Victim 3; and while impersonating Victim 1 and engaging in sexual conversations with an adult male over social media, sent such male the sexually explicit photographs she had taken of Victim 1.

The plea is the result of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kelly, and the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Timothy S. Whitcomb.

Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office

¯ SILVER CREEK — Chad R. Paolini, 44, of Fredonia, was charged with driving while intoxicated, DWI per se and speed in zone. Deputies stopped a vehicle at 8:49 p.m. Feb. 17 in Silver Creek for an alleged traffic violation. An investigation found that Paolini was reportedly operating the vehicle while intoxicated. Paolini is scheduled to appear in Hanover Town Court later.

¯ WESTFIELD — Savannah Dorsey-Carter, 21, of Ripley, was charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Deputies stopped a vehicle at 4:45 p.m. Monday on Route 20 in the village of Westfield for a traffic violation. Dorsey-Carter was allegedly found in possession of a quantity of methamphetamine. Dorsey-Carter is scheduled to appear in Westfield Village Court later.

¯ BROCTON — David L. McLaughlin, 51, of Brocton, was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief and second-degree harassment. Deputies responded at 11:45 p.m. Sunday to a Lake Avenue residence in Brocton for a reported altercation. It was determined McLaughlin allegedly damaged property and struck another person. McLaughlin is scheduled to appear in Portland Town Court later.

¯ RIPLEY — Mason T. Schnell, 24, of Westfield, was charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs and parking on pavement. Deputies were called at 10:09 p.m. Sunday to a report of a vehicle stopped on Route 20 in the town of Ripley. An investigation found that Schnell was allegedly impaired by drugs and was taken into custody. Schnell is scheduled to appear in Ripley Town Court later.


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