Eric Tran Thai, who was arrested by the FBI last month after initially being detained by the Boston College Police Department in February 2018, pleaded not guilty in federal court to four charges of sexual exploitation of children on Tuesday. He was also released to house arrest with location monitoring on the condition that there are no computers in his home.
After hearing the charges and the maximum penalties, Thai entered a not guilty plea. At a bail review hearing later that day, his detention order was modified to house arrest. Previously, Thai was detained, pending the outcome of his trial after he was deemed a flight risk and a danger to the community.
Thai, a 36-year-old from Dorchester, Mass., was initially taken into custody when BCPD responded to reports of a man covertly filming BC students from a stall in the fifth floor men’s bathroom of O’Neill Library.
In a March 1 search of Thai’s home, law enforcement officers found approximately “26 computer hard drives, 20 thumb drives, 27 covert and regular cameras, 14 computers, iPads, and cell phones, and multiple SD and Sim cards,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts. Analysis of the recovered items revealed folders labeled Boston University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, Northeastern, Bunker Hill, Boston Latin High School, as well as various malls, airports, and locations in other countries, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Based on the videos recorded in Boston Latin School—taken throughout the course of 2017—Thai was charged with five counts of sexual exploitation of children. On March 28, a federal jury indicted Thai on four of the counts.
An initial status conference, which defines the scope of the trial, an evidence discovery plan, and the trial schedule has been set for May 14.
Thai faces between 15 and 30 years of imprisonment per charge, as well as five years to lifetime supervised release and a fine of $250,000 per charge.
Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Editor