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Judge grants Cutler internet access as warrant details disturbing allegations

Published: May. 3, 2022 at 5:48 PM EDT
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ELLSWORTH, Maine (WABI) - The public learned new details Tuesday about the child pornography possession case against Eliot Cutler.

Information has been limited since the former gubernatorial candidate was arrested in March. He faces four counts of illegal possession of sexually explicit material of a minor under 12 years of age.

Up until Tuesday, the affidavit detailing the evidence against Cutler had been sealed. We now know more about the circumstances that led to his arrest and what investigators say they found during the search of his homes.

We do want to mention some of the details in this story may be disturbing to viewers.

A judge had previously ordered the affidavit be sealed until Cutler’s initial appearance, which was scheduled for Tuesday at Hancock County Superior Court.

Cutler waived his right to appear in person, but defense lawyer Walt McKee was there on his behalf.

McKee argued for an amendment to Cutler’s bail, which included a condition not to possess any device that is able to connect to the internet. McKee requested Cutler have access to one cell phone and one laptop, provided a special tracking software be installed.

The state did not take a position against the request, which the judge approved after hearing a description of the software.

“When any particular areas of concern are accessed, and this can be websites, using keywords, anything that might be sexually explicit in any way whatsoever, it triggers an alert to another person,” McKee explained. “It goes to somebody who can actually monitor it in real time.”

“The investigation thus far has revealed what to the state appears to be a long standing, untreated and severe addiction to child pornography, and the state’s experience with people in that situation is that they cannot control their impulses. So I wanted to state clearly to the court that if Mr. Cutler strays... from legitimate purposes on the internet, the state will take swift action to revoke his bail,” said Hancock County Deputy District Attorney Toff Toffolon.

The now-unsealed affidavit sheds some light on those claims from the state.

According to the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit special agent who wrote the arrest warrant application, Cutler was overheard talking to his wife on the day authorities searched their home in Brooklin.

“Mr. Cutler told his wife that the search warrant was for child pornography and we would probably find some on one of his computers,” the affidavit reads.

The special agent reports Cutler then told an investigator the following:

“While I was sitting with him in his kitchen, he told me he could make the search much quicker for us by showing us where things are but he should really wait to talk to his lawyer,” the affidavit reads.

The day after the search, the special agent reports an encounter with a forensic analyst regarding materials seized from Cutler’s home.

“She indicated that the compact flash cards she had mentioned before had literally thousands of videos of very young children being sexually abused,” the affidavit reads.

The affidavit also details the origins of the investigation.

State Police say the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a tip from the file hosting website Dropbox in December 2021 that Cutler uploaded a file of sexually explicit material.

Cutler was arrested in late March. He’s due back in court in July.

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