Another delay in child pornography case as Damon Rallis’ hearing adjourned until March

An upcoming hearing at which a Southold man charged with distributing child pornography was expected to plead guilty has been delayed again. 

In a letter to federal judge Joan Azrack dated Jan. 21, defense attorney Jason Russo requested the hearing be moved from Feb. 1 to March 1 of this year, citing “trial schedules and conflicts in scheduling.” The request was granted by the court on Jan. 23.

Damon Rallis, 48, was expected to enter a guilty plea during the Feb. 1 hearing. He had initially pleaded not guilty to a charge of distributing child pornography.

The longtime Southold Town building department employee and one time Democratic candidate for supervisor was arrested on the federal child pornography charge in February 2021.

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

According to court documents, 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. 

Using the screen name “dirtydaddy431,” Mr. Rallis reportedly shared a pair of sexually explicit videos of toddlers.

During a subsequent raid of his Southold home, Mr. Rallis 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.

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

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, according to court records.

Mr. Corwin was sentenced to five years in federal prison in November. 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 March 1.