Former pediatrician says he was damaged by Boy Scout experience

Former Stonington pediatrician Todd M. Parrilla, who faces five to 20 years in federal prison when he is sentenced for child pornography crimes on Wednesday, claims in a court document that violent and sexually deviant acts he witnessed at Boy Scout Camp as a 12-year-old led to his "sexual interest in seeing boys younger than himself."

Parrilla was not sexually assaulted at the camp, but was terrorized by an older Scout in his tent who sexually assaulted another boy for a week and forced Parrilla to watch, according to the document.

The graphic details of Parrilla's Boy Scout experience and other details of the once-popular children's doctor's "damaged psyche" are contained in a sentencing memorandum submitted to the court by defense attorney Alan J. Sobol.

"The life of Todd Michael Parrilla is a paradox - an outward vision of a healthy, normal life inwardly distorted by a childhood trauma," the document says.

Reached by phone this week after the release of a database of sexually predatory Boy Scout leaders and volunteers, Sobol said he did not know where Parrilla, now 48, had gone to Boy Scout camp.

Parrilla began collecting child pornography in 1999 and hoarded the images to the point where, the government points out in its sentencing memorandum, "he literally ran out of computer space to store it." He had more than 100,000 images of child pornography on his computers and 10,000 videos, some depicting prepubescent children and some containing scenes of sadism and masochism, according to the government. He stored printed images in gym bags and other containers.

Parrilla came to the authorities' attention in July 2011, when an undercover law enforcement officer in Kansas City, Mo., logged into a publicly available Internet file sharing program and downloaded 104 images of child pornography from a shared directory maintained by Parrilla.

"Dr. Todd," as he was known by the children he treated at the thriving Westone pediatrics practice in Stonington, pleaded guilty to receiving and distributing child pornography and will be sentenced Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant.

In seeking a prison term below the 210 to 240 months recommended under the federal sentencing guidelines, the defense submitted the psychological analysis of Parrilla along with letters of support from the parents of former patients and others. Sobol claims Parrilla is an asset to the community rather than a danger and stressed that no patient has ever claimed to be victimized by him.

Parrilla posted a $500,000 bond following his arrest and has been allowed limited movement by the federal probation officers who are supervising him. He initially took a leave of absence from the medical practice when arrested in August 2011, then resigned. In August 2012, he relinquished his license to practice medicine and agreed to never seek its renewal in Connecticut. Should he try to practice elsewhere, information about the charges will be available on a national database, according to a court exhibit.

In a reply to Parrilla's sentencing memorandum, prosecutor Raymond F. Miller contends that nothing about the former doctor's situation is extraordinary and that a sentence reduction is not merited.

"The hypocrisy between the defendant's acts and his duties as a pediatrician is striking; the images that he traded and collected are horrific," Miller wrote.

In the Parrilla court file, an applicant identifying herself only as "Jane Doe," but claiming to be Parrilla's former partner, says her life "became a living hell" after Parrilla's arrest. Doe claims to be a victim of Parrilla and asks that, by way of restitution, she be indemnified from any lawsuits brought against the practice.

"Although we have no information to suggest that the defendant actually engaged in any inappropriate contact with patients, at least 10 of the patients' families have in fact retained counsel," the document says.

Jane Doe had no idea that Parrilla was "a pedophile," nor that he collected and distributed child pornography, the document says. She dealt with angry parents, staff who needed new jobs and "endless inquiries from the press," the document says. Ultimately, she was forced to leave the practice, sell her house at a loss and leave the area, the document says.

k.florin@theday.com

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