Former Greenport village official pleads guilty to receiving child pornography

A longtime Greenport man, arrested a year ago for possessing child pornography, pleaded guilty in federal court Monday.

David Corwin, who at the time of his arrest served on the village Zoning Board of Appeals, admitted to receiving child pornography, one of two counts in his initial indictment, at a change of plea hearing before Judge Joanna Seybert at the Eastern District of New York courthouse in Central Islip.

Mr. Corwin, 73, told the judge he “did not recognize the harm” he was “causing others” by viewing the illegal materials in the privacy of his own home and blamed prescription drugs on his lapse in judgement. Entering his new plea alongside attorney Anthony Grandinette, Mr. Corwin said that after a year of therapy and now that he is “no longer abusing valium” he recognizes the harm his actions caused.

“It is with great embarrassment and humility that I take full responsibility for the actions that led to my arrest,” he told Judge Seybert in a prepared statement. “I sincerely apologize to the victims, the court, my family and community for my behavior.”

Mr. Corwin, who will have to register as a sex offender as part of his conviction, told the court he is “fully committed” to not engaging in child pornography again.

“I will seek the the help to ensure it,” he said.

At Monday’s hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Megan Farrell said the Federal Bureau of Investigation seized “hundreds, if not thousands” of photos and videos depicting child pornography when it raided Mr. Corwin’s home last March. He agreed to forfeit the items seized at the time of his arrest, including a computer, as part of his plea agreement.

Mr. Corwin, who posted $300,000 bond following his arrest last year, will remain free on supervised release until his sentencing. The judge did not immediately approve a request by Mr. Grandinette to allow Mr. Corwin to leave his home to do work at an apartment he owns on neighboring First Street for a limited number of hours over the next 60 days. Judge Seybert said she had some concerns about him leaving the home considering he has been caught with restricted devices on multiple post-arrest visits, including items provided to him by a family member.

“I am concerned about his access to devices,” the judge said.

Mr. Grandinette said his client was unaware that the items he had in his possession, which he said included thumb drives, were in violation of his release terms and that he has been cooperative with investigators since their first visit to his home last year.

Mr. Corwin was first visited by a pair of federal agents from the FBI’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force on March 18, 2021 according to the criminal complaint against him. The FBI was acting on a tip from an international law enforcement agency that said someone using a computer at Mr. Corwin’s home had accessed a “dark web” site used for child pornography in April 2019.

During the agents’ March 18 visit, Mr. Corwin, who lives alone, allowed the investigators to search six computers found in his home, which he called stations, the complaint states. On a laptop, Mr. Corwin open a “dark web” browser that had live chatting capabilities he referred to as a “pedo chat.” On that same computer, an agent observed three open tabs containing graphic sexual images of young girls believed to be 5 or 6 years old, the agent said in an affidavit. A second computer contained files of even younger children and an open tab on a third computer showed an open inmate search of a convicted sex offender Mr. Corwin described to agents as “infamous in my world.”

The FBI returned with a search warrant for Mr. Corwin’s house on March 24, 2021 and seized additional devices he secured after investigators’ first visit, Ms. Farrell said at his initial arraignment. He also allegedly created a new Instagram account, Ms. Farrell said last year and FBI officials recovered parts they believe could be used to build a computer.

Mr. Corwin is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Seybert on Sept. 7. His plea agreement covers the second count in his indictment for possessing child pornography. While federal sentencing guidelines recommend he face up to 10 years in prison and a maximum $250,000 in restitution to victims, the judge said at Monday’s hearing that the actual prison term, and amount of restitution he will owe, would be determined at the time of sentencing.