PARIS — The owner of a Main Street business in Norway pleaded guilty in the Oxford County Superior Court on Friday to possession of child pornography.
Christopher Shorey, 44, of 202 Jackson Lane in Norway, admitted to possession of sexually explicit material depicting a person under the age of 12. Shorey had not been arrested or indicted and entered the plea to an informational charge.
Justice Robert Clifford accepted a joint recommendation of sentencing from Assistant District Attorney Joe O'Connor and defense lawyer Edward Dilworth. Shorey was given a fully suspended one-year prison sentence and two years of probation, during which time he must take a sex offender evaluation and any necessary counseling. He must also register as a sex offender for 10 years.
O'Connor said the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Task Force is able to track files sent through peer-to-peer networks and identify individual computers by their Internet protocol addresses. Investigators spoke with Shorey in September after Time Warner Cable identified one of the computers as belonging to him.
O'Connor said Shorey admitted to investigators that he had been searching for child pornography for five years. He agreed to turn over his two personal computers as well as a computer at his business, Main Street Furniture and Appliance. O'Connor said investigators found a total of 70 images and 31 movies on the three computers showing children estimated to be between between the ages of 3 and 14.
“He didn't have a huge number of these,” said O'Connor. “I mean, we've seen people with thousands.”
Shorey must also not possess computers or use the Internet. However, Dilworth said Shorey will be permitted to use a computer at his business and understands that it will be subject to a search at any time.
According to Sun Journal archives, Shorey took over Western Auto of Norway from his retiring father early in 2007. The business's facade was redone, and its name was changed to Main Street Furniture and Appliance. The store has since phased out its sales of lawn and garden supplies and focused on the sale of appliances, furniture and bedding.