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Dorchester Man Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison for Child Pornography Charges

Remember this guy?

Back in March of 2019, it was reported that Eric Tran Thai, was arrested for video taping students in Boston including Boston Latin School. Tran pleaded guilty back in January and was sentenced on Thursday to 12 years in federal prison and 5 years of probation.

The defendant surreptitiously recorded high school students while they used urinals and bathroom stalls. During forensic analysis of the recovered items like laptops, phones and iPads from the defendants home, investigators found several folders labeled: BU, MIT, Harvard, Northeastern, Bunker Hill, Boston Latin High School, and several different malls, airports, and foreign country locations.

See press release below:

BOSTON – A Boston man was sentenced today in connection with surreptitiously filming boys in the restrooms at Boston Latin School (BLS).

Eric Tran Thai, 39, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge William G. Young to 12 years in prison and five years of supervised release. On Jan. 12, 2021, Thai pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of child pornography.

On Feb. 6 and Feb. 27, 2018, two separate Boston College students reported to the police that they had been videotaped without their knowledge or consent while were using the men’s restrooms on the Boston College campus. Following the Feb. 27, 2018, report, police located and spoke with Thai on campus. Thai was placed under arrest on state charges related to his surreptitious recording of the students and his bag was subsequently searched; in it, police found several covert camera devices, including faux smoke detectors, a water bottle containing a small cube recording device and a pair of sunglasses outfitted with a built-in camera. The state charges related to those offenses are currently pending in Middlesex County Superior Court.

Following Thai’s arrest, a search of his home was executed where dozens of devices including computer hard drives, thumb drives, covert and regular cameras, computers, iPads, cell phones and multiple SD and Sim cards were recovered. Investigators found several electronic folders labeled BU, MIT, Harvard, Northeastern, Bunker Hill, Boston Latin High School, and several different malls, airports and foreign country locations. Thai was charged federally for the child pornography located in the Boston Latin folders, which contained approximately 45 surreptitiously-recorded videos of male students in various states of dress using the urinals and stalls in the boys’ bathroom. The videos appear to have been created on approximately 10 separate dates between February and December 2017, all after school hours.

In general, the videos show Thai sitting in a bathroom stall at Boston Latin High School recording individuals in adjacent stalls or at the urinals through various secret recording methods. In some videos, Thai holds a camera over the top of the partition between the bathroom stalls and videotaping from overhead. In other instances, he hides a small camera inside his backpack, places the backpack on the bathroom floor and videotapes individuals in the adjacent bathroom stall from under the stall’s partition. While recording, Thai simultaneously viewed what the camera was recording on a cellphone or a tablet device in his possession.

Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan; Boston Police Acting Commissioner Gregory Long; and Boston College Police Chief William B. Evans made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Anne Paruti, Mendell’s Project Safe Childhood Coordinator and Deputy Chief of the Major Crimes Unit, prosecuted the case.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims.  For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.

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About the Author

Maureen Dahill

Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and Caught in Dot and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Hockey mom, yoga enthusiast, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.