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Jaguars Jumbotron Hacker And Prolific Child Molester Sentenced To 220 Years In Federal Prison

Vigilant FBI Ensures 220-Year Justice for Child Abuse Criminal

Samuel Arthur Thompson, a 53-year-old man hailing from St. Augustine, recently received a 220-year federal incarceration term, accompanied by a lifetime of supervised release. This grave judgment, issued by U.S. District Judge Brian J. Davis, found him culpable of multiple severe crimes. These crimes included the generation, reception, and possession of child sex abuse material or CSAM. In addition to this, the offender was found guilty of infringing laws related to sex offender registration, cyber crime, and firearm possession.

His litany of crimes also extended to producing CSAM materials while being a registered sex offender, sending prohibited damaging commands to a secured computing system, and possession of a firearm despite being a convicted felon. In order to compensate for his illicit activities, Thompson was required to surrender computers and a firearm used during the commission of his offenses, as decreed by the court.

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On November 17, 2023, a federal jury proclaimed Thompson guilty in acknowledgment of evidence brought forth during the trial. It turned out that Thompson’s criminal history dated back to 1998 when he was sentenced for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy in Alabama. Consequent to his conviction, Thompson had to be enlisted as a sex offender, which included an obligation to declare any international parameters within his travel plans.

The conditions of Thompson’s felony conviction also ruled out lawful firearm possession. Around the year 2013, Thompson was contracted by the Jacksonville Jaguars to render advice on the construction and design of their new video board network (the Jumbotron), and was enlisted to spearhead its operation during game days.

One of the conditions of Thompson’s contract with the Jaguars mandated him to disclose his previous convictions, an obligation that he failed to fulfil. The severity of his criminal conduct escalated when he remotely accessed a spare server to manipulate the controls of the Jumbotron.

Fortunately, the Jaguars team managed to trace the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the offender, a lead that the FBI further used to link the intrusion to Thompson’s residence. In July 2019, the FBI executed a federal search warrant at Thompson’s home, where they seized several computers.

Notably, a firearm, which Thompson was legally barred from possessing, was found on his nightstand. A revelation of incriminating evidence came to light after examination of his iPhone, iPad, and two laptops. The logs indicated that these gadgets had been used for illegitimate remote access to the spare server.

A chilling discovery was the thousands of images and hundreds of videos related to CSAM that were found on Thompson’s private devices. Horrifying images and recorded footage revealed the sexual abuse of young children, brutal bondage, torture, and even bestiality. Included in the CSAM stash was a video and photo series, horrifyingly produced by Thompson in June 2019.

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A review of Thompson’s digital trail further uncloaked his dark web searches for CSAM. This discovery aligned with the timeline, and Thompson’s demure masked activities came to light during a visit by the FBI armed with a search warrant.

Interviews with three boys, who were known to Thompson in 2019, painted a grimmer picture. Reports emerged of Thompson’s inappropriate conduct, including sexual exploitation, unseemly exposure, and sexual discussions. He allegedly coerced them into participating in a perverse ‘game’ involving nudity. Thompson’s exploitation continued unabated during the ‘game,’ where he created more abusive materials. The young victims were between the ages of 7 and 10.

In July 2019, Thompson journeyed to The Bahamas for work but his criminal tendency persisted. On July 15, 2019, he registered as a sex offender and illicitly accessed CSAM via the dark web without reporting his travel, violating the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).

He further violated the SORNA by again absconding, this time to the Philippines, without reporting his studies. His passport was canceled, and he was deported back to the United States on January 31, 2020. Upon his return, the FBI immediately arrested Thompson, ordering his detention pending trial.

The depth of his criminal activities was further revealed in FBI investigations that disclosed Thompson’s sexual exploitation of two additional children. This included a child he came into contact with during his flight from prosecution in July 2019.

This case has underscored the relentless dedication of investigators to securing justice for victims of heinous acts. Thompson’s long history of abuse towards children and violation of employers’ trust was laid bare, carrying significant harmful consequences for his victims and their families. The case is a potent reminder and a firm commitment to victims that agencies such as the FBI will persistently hunt down those who prey on them.

The FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office jointly investigated this case. Assistant United States Attorneys Laura Cofer Taylor, Brenna Falzetta, and Adam Duso led the prosecution, while Assistant United States Attorneys Mai Tran and Jennifer Harrington took charge of the asset forfeiture. The case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative by the Department of Justice aimed at combating child sex exploitation and abuse.

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