Man Fired On Child Porn Charges Was Victim of Spam

Man Fired On Child Porn Charges Was Victim of Spam
Tod Hunter
BOSTON — A state employee who lost his job and faced criminal charges for having child porn on his government-issued laptop computer has been found to be the victim of malware.

Michael Fiola was fired from the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents in March 2007 after state police found hundreds of images of child porn on his state-issued laptop, the Suffolk County district attorney acknowledged.

Fiola’s problems began when the department gave him a replacement computer for one that was stolen. Months later, the department’s technology department found that the data usage on Fiola’s wireless bill was four times greater than his colleagues’. After discovering the child porn on the state-issued computer, Fiola was fired and a criminal complaint issued against him by the Boston Municipal Court.

Computer forensics expert Tami Loehrs, who examined the laptop for the defense, determined that spammers had bombarded the computer with child pornography.

“It’s one of the most horrific cases I’ve seen. As soon as you mention child pornography, everybody’s senses go out the window,” Loehrs said.

Experts hired by the district’s attorney’s office came to the same conclusion and the charges against Fiola were dropped.

“The overall forensics of the laptop suggest that it had been compromised by a virus,” said Jake Wark, spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley.

Fiola said he planned to sue the department for “destroying our lives. Our lives have been hell. I hope to recover my reputation, but our friends all ran.”

Wark said Fiola’s case was officially expunged from court records last week.

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