Mom took pedophilia pair's offer to baby-sit

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Predators will often target parents and children in crisis and find ways to work themselves into their lives, he said. They "scope out who's a likely mark, the types that are easy prey and offer some kind of help," he said.

NEW BRITAIN -- The arrest warrant for a woman who repeatedly left her 3-month-old baby with Jeffrey Brisson and Harold Spurling shows the men offered "free baby-sitting" but used the time alone to videotape their sexual assaults of the child.

Brisson and Spurling are being held on several million dollars' bond in what state Internet abuse experts are calling one of the biggest child pornography cases in state history.

Spurling was arrested Wednesday on 61 more sex charges, including 15 counts of first-degree sexual assault. Brisson is facing more than 140 similar charges, including more than three dozen counts of first-degree sexual assault.

A warrant indicates Spurling would pose naked with a boy as young as 4 and touch the child sexually while Brisson filmed. In one film, a 6-year-old mimics a commercial for KY jelly, a lubricant that is often used during sex.

The two are accused of running a full-scale child pornography studio out of their Washington Street apartment, involving nearly a dozen victims ranging from 3 months to 14 years old.

The charges stem from when police arrived at their home in late January to serve an arrest warrant based on charges of longtime sexual assault of a Middletown teen. The 3-month-old girl was found in their filthy apartment, which was littered with cat feces and urine.

Police believe the duo attempted to keep officers out while they shredded documents and electronically encrypted a videotape of Brisson sexually assaulting the baby. When officers stopped the process and realized what was on the video, it launched one of the largest computer crime investigations in New Britain police - and likely state - history.

"This would be the type of case that New Britain officers will remember for the rest of their lives," said State Police Sgt. James Smith, who is in charge of the state police computer crime unit. "If I were to rate these two individuals, they would be up there in terms of one of the biggest cases of this kind in the state."

According to nine arrest warrants served on Brisson and Spurling in the past two weeks, the duo had nearly a dozen victims videotaped repeatedly over the course of several years.

The documents describe several dozen videos found on the pair's 11 computers, spanning several years, that show the men having sex with children and directing the action for the cameras.

The crimes may reach as far as Westbrook, Clinton, Madison, and Amesbury, Mass., and include 15 other incidents outside New Britain.

The warrants said police are analyzing more than three terabytes of computer information - the equivalent of the amount of information typically stored on 42 laptop computers.

The mother of the 3-month-old was charged by warrant with risk of injury in March. She was released after posting $75,000 bond and her case is pending. She is not being named by The Herald to protect the identity of the child.

Her arrest warrant said the woman knew Brisson for about nine years and considered him a "friend." She told police Brisson offered to baby-sit for free when she went back to work in early January. The baby was alone with the men four days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., she told police.

The woman did not answer phone calls Wednesday.

"It's usually the kids that aren't supervised or the family that is already having some type of problem," said Smith, who has not been involved in the New Britain case. "It's the children of parents who already aren't providing a positive growing environment for their kids."

Predators will often target parents and children in crisis and find ways to work themselves into their lives, he said. They "scope out who's a likely mark, the types that are easy prey and offer some kind of help," he said.

New Britain youth officers and state Department of Children and Families officials have said sexual assaults are commonly perpetrated by someone the victim knows and the family trusts. In the past nine years, there have been no reports of child sexual assaults by strangers, police have said.

Minutes after Spurling's arraignment on the new charges Wednesday, special public defender Dennis McMahon said he believes his client will not be charged with any other crimes. Police said last week more charges would be pending for Brisson.

More warrants are expected to be released today. A New Britain Superior Court judge ordered the unsealing of the warrants with the children's names and any admissions by the defendants hidden from public view.

Both men are scheduled to return to court in early December.

Lisa Backus can be reached at lbackus@newbritainherald.com or by calling (860) 225-4601, ext. 223.

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