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    Saturday, November 26, 2022

    Plea possible in child porn case of former Groton school superintendent

    With the start of a federal child porn possession and transportation trial looming, former Groton schools Superintendent Paul Kadri appears to be weighing options of a plea agreement.

    A change of plea hearing is scheduled for Oct. 13 in the federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where Kadri’s case is pending.

    Federal authorities have detained Kadri, 56, since his arrest on Sept. 20, 2021 at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International airport, where he had arrived from Panama City, Panama.

    While Kadri’s bags were being searched by Customs and Border Protection officers at the airport, Kadri was caught on video surveillance using a pair of pliers destroying several thumb drives.

    During a subsequent questioning and pat down, Kadri “spontaneously stated that he believed he was being detained because of sexual activities he was having with underage females,” federal officials said.

    Prosecutors said Kadri had been traveling back and forth to Columbia between 2015 and 2021 where Kadri said he operated an adult web cam business, renting out space for women to perform sexual acts on the internet. Kadri told police there were about 17 girls and all were over the age of 18.

    Kadri managed to destroy five of six thumb drives he was carrying, prosecutors said. A search of the one thumb drive that was not destroyed turned up hundreds of photos of nude females. A forensic analysis of the images turned up 10 images of possible child exploitation material, images of children under the age of 18.

    He has pleaded not guilty to charges of child porn possession and transportation.

    Regarding the upcoming change of plea hearing, Kadri’s appointed attorney, Robert Berube, said, “At this time (Kadri) has not decided how to proceed.”

    Assistant State’s Attorney Jodi Anton, with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida, said at a hearing in April that the charges against Kadri carry maximum terms of 20 years in prison, but the lower end of the sentencing guidelines calls for approximately 78 months on both counts.

    Anton, responding to an email from the Day, said she was unable to discuss any particulars of a plea agreement before they become public.

    A trial in the case was scheduled to start on Oct. 11.

    Kadri served as the superintendent of Groton schools between 2008 and 2013 when he was fired for his alleged bullying and harassment of school employees. There have been no allegations about Kadri pertaining to minors during his time in Groton.

    Authorities said Kadri has been traveling back and forth to Columbia since 2015.

    g.smith@theday.com

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