Edward De Sear, Law Firm Partner, Charged With Distributing Kiddie Porn

Edward De Sear, a top-ranked capital markets lawyer and partner at international firm Allen & Overy, was arrested by the FBI yesterday at his New Jersey home on charges of distributing kiddie porn on the Internet. Reuters reports that he appeared in federal court in Newark, was released on $250,000 bond, and will be electronically monitored by the court. If found guilty, he could face a maximum of 20 years and $250,000 in fines.

The complaint filed by the FBI includes graphic descriptions of three videos and images they had traced back to an IP address registered to De Sear. Two feature an adult male in sexual acts with a pre-pubescent boy, and another depicts an adult male with a pre-pubescent female who was bound by rope.

In addition, the FBI complaint states that,

During the execution of the search warrant, on or about July 14, 2011, law enforcement agents interviewed EDWARD DE SEAR, who admitted, in substance and in part, that (1) he downloads and shares child pornography using his laptop;
(2) he uses the P2P network to download and share child pornography;
(3) he is the only person in his home who uses the P2P network; and
(4) he receives sexual gratification from viewing child pornography

Above the Law was able to grab and post De Sear's professional bio before it was yanked offline by the law firm. According to the bio, De Sear has served on the board of inMotion, Inc., a non-profit that provides free legal services to protect low-income women and their children.

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This is just the latest in a recent disturbing string of lawyers accused of distributing child pornography. In June, Moshe Gerstein, formerly of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, was charged by federal prosecutors in Manhattan during a child porn string. He was later found dead in Mexico. Joshua Gessler, formerly of Arnold & Porter, was charged in August 2010 with possessing and producing child pornography. He pleaded guilty to sexual offenses involving a teenage girl, and lost his law license last month.

Although the firm declined to provide any additional statements, a firm spokesman said earlier today:

"Everyone has been shocked and appalled by the news that a lawyer in our New York office, Edward De Sear, has been criminally charged by federal prosecutors in Newark, New Jersey, after being arrested at his home. He has resigned from the firm. This is now subject to a federal investigation so we cannot make any further comment."


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