A former adviser to the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra who also worked with that company’s youth orchestra has pleaded guilty to possessing thousands of sexually explicit and abusive images of children, including an infant. Prosecutors agreed to recommend a three to five year term of imprisonment, according to a plea agreement reviewed by Law&Crime.
David St. George, 75, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography on Thursday, according to a Department of Justice press release.
St. George had been arrested and charged in September 2018.
According to the DOJ, investigators received information in May 2018 regarding a shared secure online storage account that allegedly contained the images. The IP address for the account was eventually linked to St. George.
The details of what was contained in the account are disturbing.
“The storage account contained over 5,000 files, including sexually explicit images and videos of children, many of which depicted child sexual abuse – including the depiction of an adult raping an infant of approximately one year of age,” the DOJ press release said.
When investigators searched St. George’s home, they found many more images.
In September 2018, a search of St. George’s residence revealed thousands of files of child pornography, including the depiction of sexual assaults of children between six-and-eight years old. Emails revealed that St. George continued to re-post child sexual abuse materials despite being repeatedly banned by an online service provider. During the search, St. George admitted that he had been receiving and downloading child pornography from the Dark Web while taking steps to conceal his identity, as well as receiving and downloading child pornography via email for upload to his shared secure storage account.
At the time of his arrest, the Boston Philharmonic announced that they had suspended St. George.
Elisabeth Christenson, the Boston Philharmonic’s managing director, said at the time in an email to local NPR station WBUR that the organization learned of St. George’s arrest on the day it happened, and that he had been suspended.
“We are as alarmed and surprised as everyone,” Christenson reportedly said in the statement. “The safety of our young musicians is our primary concern.”
According to an arrest warrant affidavit reviewed by Law&Crime, St. George had previously been the artistic director of the Discovery Ensemble, a Boston-based chamber orchestra that held workshops and concerts for children from local schools.
“Since 2015, St. George has occasionally posted articles to the Boston Philharmonic blog, including reflections on time he spent observing the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (BPYO) while on tour,” the affidavit said.
St. George identified in a 2018 blog post as someone who “has built a close personal relationship with the members of the BPYO through his attendance at… weekly rehearsals, where he frequently intercedes with his insights and coaching,” according to the affidavit.
Federal agents said that St. George admitted to collecting child pornography in what he described as a “feverish and crazed” way over a period of about a year and a half and had amassed a large collection, saying that he deleted his collection and erased his encrypted cloud storage account because he became “disgusted” with himself.
St. George faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, but he can appeal any sentence above the recommendation in his plea agreement. Prosecutors will also recommend five years of supervised release, though he could face a lifetime of it. The cap on his fine is $250,000.
Representatives from the Boston Philharmonic were unavailable for comment. St. George’s attorney did not immediately respond to Law&Crime’s press inquiry.
Sentencing has been set for Aug. 16.
Read the plea agreement, below:
[Image via YouTube/.]
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