Hearing adjourned for Southold man charged with distributing child pornography

A change of plea hearing set for a man facing a federal child pornography charge initially set for Dec. 15 has been postponed to the new year.

According to court documents, Damon Rallis of Southold was set to enter a guilty plea before Judge Joan Azrack. He had initially pleaded not guilty to a charge of distributing child pornography.

In a letter to Judge Azrack dated Dec. 12, an attorney for Mr. Rallis wrote to request the delay.

“Both [Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Scotti] and myself have continued to work to be prepared to proceed with a plea on this date, however, due to trial schedules we have had some difficulties completing matters to proceed,” attorney Jason Russo wrote, asking for a late January date.

A longtime Southold Town employee and former Democratic candidate for supervisor, Mr. Rallis was arrested on a federal child pornography charge in February 2021.

He is charged with distribution of child pornography, according to a federal complaint.

Mr. Rallis became the subject of an investigation by the FBI after he engaged with an undercover agent in an “invite-only” group chat on the social media platform Kik in 2020, according to the complaint filed in federal court. He also allegedly shared a pair of graphic videos of underage children.

During an FBI raid of Mr. Rallis’ home, he admitted to law enforcement that he had viewed child pornography and that he had posted the media referenced in the criminal complaint, according to a sworn affidavit from a special agent with the FBI. 

Mr. Rallis told investigators he had viewed child pornography as recently as the day before and that he would delete images after viewing them, according to the complaint.

Just one month later, David Corwin, then a member of the Greenport Planning Board, was charged with possession of child pornography in an unrelated FBI sting.

Agents visited his Greenport home after receiving 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. 

After pleading guilty earlier this year, Mr. Corwin was sentenced to five years in federal prison last month. He was also ordered to pay nearly $60,000 in fines towards various victims relief funds.

If convicted, Mr. Rallis could face a similar sentence of five years in prison, which is the minimum. 

He posted a $200,000 bond last year and is currently on supervised home release. He is due back in court on Feb. 1.