Serial molester convicted of child exploitation, sex offender registration, firearm offenses and hacking NFL jumbotron

Serial molester convicted of child exploitation, sex offender registration, firearm offenses and hacking NFL jumbotron

(As originally published, Mon, November 20th 2023, 5:40 PM EST)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (TND) — A man in Florida has been convicted of a long list of charges and the feds say his many crimes took place over several years.

Samuel Arthur Thompson, 53, was charged by criminal complaint in 2019 but his legal trouble started way back in 1998, when he was convicted of sodomizing a 14-year-old boy in Alabama.

That made him a convicted felon, required to register as a sex offender.

Then, around 2013, the Jacksonville Jaguars of the NFL hired him to consult on the design and installation of its stadium jumbotron, and later to operate it on game days.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, “Thompson’s contract with the Jaguars required him to report his conviction, but he did not. In January 2018, the Jaguars determined not to renew Thompson’s contract after learning of his conviction and status as a registered sex offender.

“Before the expiration of Thompson’s contract in March 2018, Thompson installed remote access software on a spare server in the Jaguars’ server room. He then remotely accessed computers that control the jumbotron during three 2018 season NFL games, causing the video boards repeatedly to malfunction.”

The Jags figured out something malicious was going on so they switched servers on Dec. 16, 2018,

and caught “the internet protocol (IP) address of the intruder — which the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) traced to Thompson’s residence.”

Once there with a search warrant, they took several computers and “a firearm from Thompson’s nightstand, which he was prohibited from possessing as a convicted felon.”

“Log files from Thompson’s iPhone, iPad, and two laptops showed that all those devices had been used to remotely access the” Jaguars, according to the feds.

Serial molester convicted of child exploitation, sex offender registration, firearm offenses and hacking NFL jumbotron
Samuel Arthur Thompson, shown on Jan. 9, 2019, was convicted of a long list of federal charges and will be sentenced to at least 35 years in prison, Nov. 17, 2023. (Fla. Dept. of Law Enforcement)

They also reported finding “thousands of images and hundreds of videos on multiple defendant’s personal devices depicting [child sex abuse material],” which “included images and videos depicting the sexual abuse of prepubescent children, bondage and torture of children, and bestiality.”

It also “included a video and series of photos that Thompson produced in June 2019 depicting children that had been in his care and custody. Thompson’s voice could be heard speaking to the children at the beginning of the video, and the video was taken in Thompson’s living room.”

They spoke to three boys and learned “Thompson had molested two of the children, exposed himself to two of the children, exposed children to [child sex abuse material], spoken to the children about sex and masturbation, and had encouraged the children to play a ‘game’ wherein the children were required to take off their clothes and run around Thompson’s house. It was while the children (7, 8, and 10 years old at the time) were playing the “game” that Thompson produced CSAM.”

Plus, “A review of Thompson’s iPad further revealed that he had been searching the dark web for [child sex abuse material] at the time the FBI knocked on his door with the search warrant.”

Then, there were trips outside the country.

The feds said Thompson traveled to The Bahamas on a work trip in 2019 but “failed to report this travel as required by the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act,” and doing the same — escaping to the Philippines — two weeks later.

He stayed for six months until he was deported, then arrested by the FBI and held pending trial.

On Friday, the jury found him guilty of producing, receiving, and possessing child sex abuse material, producing that material while required to register as a sex offender, violating the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, sending unauthorized damaging commands to a protected computer, and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.

Thompson faces at least 35 years in federal prison. That’s the mandatory minimum sentence. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 25.

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