Tracy Owen Penfold, 57, Boyne Falls pleaded guilty in the 33rd Circuit Court to possessing child sexually abusive material (“CSAM”) and using a computer to commit a crime.
The charges carry maximum possible sentences of four years and seven years in prison, respectively. The sentence on the computer crime charge may be imposed consecutively to the CSAM charge.
Penfold will also be required to register as a sex offender under Michigan law.
According to an affidavit filed in the matter, Penfold’s employer was experiencing computer issues on its network and hired a company to investigate and solve the problems.
The company discovered suspicious activity on the network and indicated that it needed physical possession of the computer involved to conduct further investigation. The computer was turned over by Penfold to the employer and then to the company.
While working on the computer, the company discovered material that was believed to possibly contain CSAM and stopped all activity on the computer. They advised the employer who then contacted the Michigan State Police.
The State Police forensically reviewed the contents of the computer and detected 98 images that were tagged as possible child sexually abusive material. Five of the images were specifically described in the affidavit as appearing to include a child engaging in a sexual act.
In exchange for Penfold’s guilty pleas, the prosecution agreed to dismiss a third charge of larceny in a building. According to the affidavit, that charge related to Penfold taking the work computer from his employer without permission.
Penfold is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Roy C. Hayes III on February 28.