December 12 2019

Burlington Man and Former Cub Scout Leader Sentenced for Possession of Child Pornography

By: Rich Hosford

A former civilian employee of the Hanscom Air Force Base and a former Burlington Cub Scout leader was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Boston in connection with possessing thousands of files depicting child pornography, including a manual titled “How to Practice Child Love.”

William Gates, 41, of Burlington, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Leo T. Sorokin to 30 months in prison and five years of supervised release, a release states. In April 2019, Gates pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography.

According to authorities, in November 2017 law enforcement in Boston received information from authorities in Australia about an investigation involving an online personal photo site, known for hosting child pornography. Australian investigators observed a user of the site posting photographs of, and comments regarding, an approximately six-year-old boy on a school bus, who the user identified as a child on a field trip they were chaperoning. Australian and U.S. authorities were able to trace the account activity to IP addresses assigned to Gates’s home in Burlington and to Hanscom Air Force Base, where Gates was a civilian employee at the time.

A search of two of his digital devices revealed approximately 51 images of child pornography, the release states. More than 900 child pornography files were recovered during a search of Gates’s home. He was subsequently indicted by a Middlesex grand jury for possession of child pornography.  Further forensic analysis of one of Gates’ laptops revealed an encrypted volume, where approximately 5,000 images and 440 videos of child pornography were hidden, as well as a document titled, “How to Practice Child Love,” which purports to serve as a guide to teach adults how to have sex with children.

As reported on BNEWS, Gates had previously been a leader of a Burlington Cub Scout pack.

A letter sent to parents of children in Pack 105 after his arrest said that Gates had resigned from leadership in the pack in December of 2017.


“Pack 105’s Executive Leadership members were copied on a letter dated December 15, 2017 addressed to William Gates from the Spirit of Adventure Council stating that he was not allowed to participate in any scouting events due to an ongoing investigation,” the letter states. “Our Executive Leaders spoke to our Council Leaders and were advised that these were only allegations therefore any communication within our Pack could have legal ramifications. In light of this, we took our own internal measures to address the safety of all of our children.”


United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Jason Molina, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was provided by the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office and the Burlington Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Anne Paruti, Lelling’s Project Safe Childhood Coordinator and a member of the Major Crimes Unit, prosecuted the case.


The case is 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, visit


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