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8 Vermont men face child porn charges in 'Operation Bada Bing'

(WCAX)
Published: May. 29, 2019 at 2:48 PM EDT
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Eight Vermont men now face charges related to child pornography. The arrests were made in what's being called "Operation Bada Bing."

"This is not pornography. This is sexual violence against children," Vt. Attorney General T.J. Donovan said.

Disturbing and immoral: That's how state and federal authorities describe what they found during a recent bust on child predators in Vermont.

"To sexually exploit them, to rob them of their innocence, to inflict grave harm upon them through contact offenses or by collecting and enjoying images of their sexual abuse as children, the worst moment in their lives." U.S. Attorney for Vermont Christina Nolan said.

Eight men between the ages of 25 and 74 were arrested the week of May 13 on charges of possession and promotion of child pornography. Several agencies, including the Crimes Against Children Task Force, teamed up to track down the men after receiving cyber tips alerting them to criminal activity on their electronics.

Half are being charged by the state. The other four men are being charged federally.

While they classified all cases as heinous, authorities said the images they found on 35-year-old Sean Fiore's computer were some of the most evil they had ever seen.

"Videos of the most horrifying variety on his computer including, not just videos of child sexual abuse, which are horrific enough, but straight child torture, including the torture of babies," Nolan said.

Nolan says this will not be tolerated and she had strong words Wednesday for anyone who preys on children.

"State and federal law enforcement will work together to bring you swift and serious consequences. We will never stop fighting for children," Nolan said. "We won't hesitate to use our mandatory minimum charges in federal court against the most egregious child exploitation offenders."

Those arrested are:

-Frank Farley, 37, of Rutland

-Russell Biathrow, 61, of Killington

-Mark Hulett, 48, of Ferrisburgh

-Uriah Shows, 19, of Middlebury

-Bernard Tinker, 58, of Colchester

-Richard Weston, 25, of Huntington

-Louis Hamlin II, 74, of Huntington

-Sean Fiore, 35, of Burlington

Louis Hamlin is the father of one of the most infamous killers in the state. His son, Louis Hamlin III, was sentenced to 45 years to life in prison for the rape, torture and stabbing of two 12-year-old girls in 1981.

One of them died; the other lived to identify Hamlin as a suspect.

The other person in that attack, Jamie Savage, was 15 at the time.

Savage served fewer than three years because Vermont law said he could only be tried in juvenile court.

Lawmakers went on to pass the toughest juvenile law in the country by lowering the age a minor could be tried as an adult for murder and sexual assault to 10 years old.

The second familiar name on the list released Wednesday is Mark Hulett.

He was convicted of sexually molesting an 8-year-old girl in 2006 when Judge Edward Cashman sentenced him to 60 days in jail. The judge came under fire and defended his actions by saying he wanted to send Hulett to prison but wanted him in sex offender treatment immediately.

That wasn't offered to low-risk offenders behind bars at the time.

Another federal defendant is Sean Fiore, 35.

Authorities called all cases heinous-- but said the images found on Fiore's computer were some of the evilest they had ever seen.

They said Fiore had images and videos of extreme child abuse.

They said he was in a chatroom online, and asked another user to send him gruesome videos of children being tortured.

U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan said some of those kids were babies.

Nolan adds that Fiore was released and is being supervised by the U.S. Probation office.

The other three men are being held at the request of the U.S. government pending trial.