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Former police chief pleads not guilty to child porn charges

June 30, 2021 GMT

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The former police chief in East Helena has pleaded not guilty to three counts of distributing and one count of possessing child pornography.

William Daly Harrington, 42, entered his pleas Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge John Johnston in Great Falls, the Independent Record reported.

Johnston allowed Harrington to be released on home detention with conditions limiting his internet access.

According to the criminal complaint, an FBI agent received a tip from Facebook in September 2020 that an account that was later determined to belong to Harrington shared a sexually explicit image involving a girl who was about 10 years old.

Further investigation found Harrington shared several images of pornography with another Facebook account, determined to belong to Harrington’s girlfriend, between November 2019 and August 2020. More than a dozen of the images appeared to be photos of minors in their early teens, court records said.


A search of Harrington’s cellphone turned up additional images, court records said.

Harrington spent about 12 years with the East Helena Police Department and was promoted to chief in April 2019. He was placed on paid administrative leave in February after the city learned of a sexual assault allegation against him. Harrington resigned from the department March 5.