Level 3 sex offender facing new charges

  • In US
  • 2022-08-17 13:56:00Z
  • By The Salem News, Mass.

Aug. 17-SALEM - A Salem man, whose lengthy record of possessing child pornography in other communities has led to his being deemed a Level 3 sex offender, is facing new charges after allegedly going off the grid - and later being found with new images of children.

Walter Crayton, 44, was indicted last week by an Essex County grand jury on five new counts of possession of child pornography and a charge of failing to register as a sex offender.

He's being held without bail on probation warrants from his earlier cases, and is also awaiting a bail hearing next Monday in Salem Superior Court.

Because possession of child pornography is not among the list of offenses for which a judge can consider pretrial detention without bail, prosecutors cannot seek detention without bail in the case. A bill filed several times by outgoing Gov. Charlie Baker would have added the charge to the list of crimes that can lead to detention without bail.

Failing to register as a sex offender is also not a qualifying offense for pretrial detention.

Crayton, who had recently completed a five- to eight-year prison term for one of his prior convictions, arrived in Salem last year; he initially registered as homeless but later moved to a rooming house hotel at 116 Lafayette St. in October.

Salem police, in a report, said Crayton had been due to re-register in January but when police went to the address he'd given, he was not there and a manager said he'd moved out of the building.

He was found and arrested about a week later, then released on bail.

Last week, in addition to one count of failing to register, a grand jury handed up five counts of possession of child pornography, all dating back to February. He was arrested by Salem police within hours on an indictment warrant.

Crayton has a history of similar cases in Suffolk, Norfolk and Middlesex counties.

A conviction on possession of child pornography in Suffolk County led to a two-year jail term in 2007.

After that sentence, Crayton was arrested in 2009 after two middle school girls doing homework in the Cambridge Public Library noticed him looking at images of a girl on a computer he'd logged in on using someone else's library card. When an employee saw him again the next day he called police.

But the Supreme Judicial Court, in a precedent-setting decision to grant him a new trial, in 2014, ruled that Cambridge police had failed to conduct a proper identification procedure of Crayton and that the identification of him in court by witnesses was too suggestive, in part because anyone might infer that the person sitting next to a defense lawyer was the defendant.

One result of the decision to grant Crayton a new trial has been a flurry of requests by defense lawyers and some prosecutors to bar news cameras from courtrooms, on the grounds that a photo of a person in a courtroom might taint later identifications outside court by witnesses.

Prosecutors are concerned that if police had not completed the process of having witnesses identify a suspect, the defense could seek to bar any identification of a suspect by a witness.

Defense lawyers argue that a photo or video shown to the public might influence witnesses to choose a defendant's photo in an array or choose them in another type of identification procedure. However, the requests have also been made even after the completion of an identification process and in a few cases, after law enforcement had already released images of a defendant.

Crayton, meanwhile, went on to pick up new indictments for child pornography in Norfolk County in 2018; he was ultimately sentenced to five to eight years in prison on those charges as well as for violating probation in the Cambridge case.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis


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