JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A “serial child molester” who hacked the Jacksonville Jaguars scoreboards during three 2018 season games has been guilty on several federal charges, the Department of Justice said Friday.
Samuel Thompson, 53, of St. Augustine, was convicted on the following charges:
- Producing, receiving, and possessing child sexual abuse material (CSAM)
- Producing CSAM while required to register as a sex offender
- Violating the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA)
- Sending unauthorized damaging commands to a protected computer
- Possessing a firearm as a convicted felon
Thompson was hired as a contractor by the Jaguars in 2013 to consult on the design and installation of the scoreboards and later to operate the scoreboards on game days.
His contract with the Jaguars required him to report his previous conviction and he did not. In 1998, he was convicted in Alabama of second-degree sodomy on a child, the release said.
When the Jaguars learned of this, the decision was made not to renew Thompson’s contract with the team.
According to the release, an investigation revealed that an account associated with Thompson had been used to remotely log into the computer system and send commands to a rogue server that had been placed in the Jaguars’ server room, which resulted in malfunctions during games.
The FBI got a search warrant related to the computer intrusion after the Jaguars were able to capture the internet protocol (IP) address causing the malfunctions. According to the release, during the search of Thompson’s house in July 2019, agents recovered a firearm from his nightstand, which he was not supposed to have as a convicted felon.
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The release said the FBI also seized multiple pieces of computer equipment and Thompson’s iPhone. In a review of the items, the FBI found that Thompson had “thousands of images and hundreds of videos” of CSAM on his devices.
A review of Thompson’s iPad further revealed that he had been searching the dark web for CSAM at the time the FBI knocked on his door with the search warrant, the DOJ said.
Investigators found that in June 2019, Thompson produced CSAM of three male children (ages 7, 8, and 10 at the time) in his care and custody. The DOJ said interviews with the children revealed “that Thompson had molested two of the children, exposed himself to two of the children, exposed children to CSAM, spoken to the children about sex and masturbation, and had encouraged the children to play a ‘game’ wherein the children were required to take off their clothes and run around Thompson’s house.”
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Thompson traveled to the Bahamas on a work trip from July 6-14, 2019. The next day, on July 15, 2019, Thompson registered as a sex offender and failed to report this travel as required by the SORNA. The same day, Thompson also received CSAM via the dark web, DOJ said.
On July 27, 2019, Thompson traveled from the United States to the Philippines without reporting his international travel, violating the SORNA. He also traveled to South Korea and did not report those travel plans, according to the indictment.
Thompson was arrested Jan. 31, 2020 after being deported from the Philippines.
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The Jaguars released the following statement when Thompson was arrested in 2020:
“We are aware of the charges involving a former contractor, and we have cooperated with the investigation as requested. We cannot otherwise comment on this legal matter.”
Thompson faces a mandatory minimum term of 35 years’ imprisonment, the DOJ said. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 25, 2024
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