Stonington doctor pleads guilty to receiving, distributing child porn

Stonington pediatrician Todd Parrilla, who pleaded guilty Monday to receiving and distributing child pornography, has an opportunity to reduce his prison sentence, but only if he "affirmatively accepts responsibility."

He faces a mandatory minimum of five years to a maximum of 20 years in prison when he is sentenced in October, and will be required to register with the state and the federal government as a sex offender.

As part of his plea agreement, the 48-year-old was required to stand before Judge Vanessa L. Bryant and describe, in his own words, the crime he had committed. His parents were listening from the gallery as Parrilla, a brown-haired man in a blue sport jacket, hesitantly began to speak.

"I downloaded and used a file share program to receive images," Parrilla said. "I exchanged images with the same program."

His description did not sit well with the prosecutor, Raymond F. Miller.

"The defendant talks about 'images' here," Miller said. "We're talking about child pornography."

Parrilla 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.

His recommended sentence is on the high end of the range - 210 to 240 months - under federal sentencing guidelines, but the government is expected to ask the judge for a reduction because Parrilla has admitted responsibility. He also has agreed to cooperate with the Federal Bureau of Investigation should agents ask for his help with future child pornography investigations.

But after asking Parilla several questions about his crime and receiving what she apparently thought were vague or inadequate responses, the judge told him she would be unlikely to reduce the sentence if he does not "affirmatively and explicitly" describe his acts during presentencing interviews with federal probation officers.

Parrilla was part of the thriving Westone pediatrics practice in Stonington. He initially took a leave of absence from the practice when arrested in August 2011, then resigned.

He has been free on bond under home confinement and on electronic surveillance while his case was pending and will remain free until he is sentenced on Oct. 24.

Though he has retained his medical license, the judge explained that his guilty plea means it is unlikely he will ever practice pediatric medicine again.

The office of U.S. Attorney David B. Fein issued a press release following the hearing.

"This defendant possessed and distributed tens of thousands of images and videos portraying the sexual abuse of children," said Fein. "This is a heinous crime. That it was committed by a pediatrician, whose profession is committed to the well-being of children, makes it especially disturbing. I commend the FBI and the Connecticut Computer Crimes Task Force for investigating this matter, and the tireless work they do every day to investigate these crimes and protect children from exploitation."

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

On Aug. 23, 2011, Parrilla was arrested following the execution of a search and seizure warrant at his residence. On that date, the FBI seized two computers, three detachable hard drives, computer-related components and numerous printed images of child pornography.

k.florin@theday.com

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