Adams Porn factor in police pension

The Berkshire Eagle (Pittsfield, Massachusetts), TOP STORY; News
BYLINE: Conor Berry, Berkshire Eagle Staff

Adams, MA

ADAMS -- A former Adams police officer indicted on multiple child pornography charges could lose his municipal pension if he's convicted of the alleged crimes, according to an attorney for the town's retirement system.

Although Alan C. Vigiard, a former sergeant in the Adams Police Department, resigned from the department last fall, he continues to receive town retirement benefits at least until the disposition of his Berkshire Superior Court case.

"We're simply in a position where we have to wait and see the outcome of the criminal case," said Michael Sacco, a Southampton-based attorney for the Adams Retirement Board.

"I can tell you that he is retired, so he is receiving a retirement benefit," Sacco said.

If Vigiard is convicted in Superior Court, the retirement board would have to determine if Vigiard's crimes were linked to his employment with the town. If the board determines a connection existed, Vigiard would have to forfeit his municipal pension, Sacco said.

However, Vigiard would be eligible for reimbursement of his contributions to the retirement plan, Sacco said.

Law enforcement officials claim Vigiard's transgressions were directly linked to his job as a police officer: He was caught masturbating to pornographic images of children in the evidence room of the Adams Police Department on Oct. 29, 2009, according to police and prosecutors.

Adams Town Administrator Jonathan Butler said Vigiard formally resigned from the Police Department on Nov. 5, 2009 -- one week after the alleged incident in the evidence room. "At that point, that was really the total severance of ties with officer Vigiard," Butler said.

Adams officials have "cooperated completely" with investigators from the Berkshire district attorney's office, according to Butler.

Meanwhile, Vigiard, 45, of Adams, has picked up two new charges in connection with the 2009 case since his original January arraignment on nine child-porn charges. The new charges are single counts of "lasciviously posing a child in a state of nudity" and "knowingly possessing visual material of a child depicted in sexual conduct."

"[The charges] are all from the initial investigation," said Frederick A. Lantz, a spokesman for District Attorney David F. Capeless.

Vigiard, who could not be reached for comment Tuesday, has denied all charges and is free on personal recognizance. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for June 23 in Superior Court.

Adams Police Chief Donald Poirot and Massachusetts State Police detectives launched an investigation of Vigiard after a folder containing pornographic images was copied onto CDs with evidence for a larceny case that was forwarded to the district attorney's office.

Investigators said the photos contained images of males and females who were "clearly under the age of 18," as well as photos of clothed teenage girls from the Adams area.

Police said the CDs also contain images and a video clip of a man performing a lewd act in front of a computer monitor. The man's head is never in view, but the background was clearly identified as the evidence room of the Adams Police Department, police said.

The man had a distinctive scar on his left hand that matched a scar on Vigiard's hand at the time of his arrest, police said. Vigiard was one of only four people with access to the evidence room, according to Poirot.

The Massachusetts State Police Digital Evidence Unit determined that Vigiard was logged into the system at the same time that the pornographic files were accessed, according to law enforcement officials.

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To reach Conor Berry: , or (413) 496-6249.

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