Sunday, December 10, 2017
News Roundup

Pilot worried about his job amid St. Petersburg child porn arrest

TAMPA — The day authorities confronted then-American Airlines pilot Donald E. Gallagher Jr. with evidence that he was amassing child pornography in his St. Petersburg home, he expressed worry his career could be over.

"I support three young children and hope you will consider this," he wrote in a July 24 statement for Largo police Detective Nathan Dix. "Any charges would be career ending for me and my family."

He has been grounded and in jail ever since, denied bail as a flight risk.

The statement was entered into evidence Wednesday in the second day of testimony in Gallagher's federal child porn trial.

"In response to the investigation, I want to say that I had not intended to distribute or sell any downloaded material on my computer," he wrote. "Nor did I want to share any files on my computer. However that seems to be the case.

"Any searches or downloads were of a curiosity basis only, and some unknowingly. I have extreme remorse for any negative or mal affect of my actions and did not intend to violate any laws."

He is charged with not only viewing and sharing other people's images and videos, but also producing his own while inappropriately touching two sleeping girls. They are referred to in court proceedings only by initials.

Dix, assigned to an FBI task force that investigates such activity, described how he turned a child porn lead from St. Petersburg police Detective Chris McClure into a case that revealed molestation.

Jurors saw several images and one video alleged to have been made by Gallagher in the summer of 2011, part of a larger collection. The images, including close-ups, were projected on a screen at least 10 feet wide directly opposite the jury box.

Dix said that Gallagher denied any interest or history of inappropriate sexual contact with children but the detective recognized the now-former pilot's home as the backdrop for images of the two girls.

The detective obtained a search warrant in January to photograph Gallagher's hands.

An FBI photo analyst, the government's final witness, testified that the fingers in the images appear to be Gallagher's.

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