Federal authorities say a man from the U.K. who has been living in Worcester pleaded guilty Monday to trying to kidnap children, intending to rape, kill and eat his victims.
Geoffrey Portway, 40, faces up to 27 years in prison under a plea agreement, on charges of soliciting the kidnapping of a child and possession and distribution of child pornography. He was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials last July as part of an international investigation.
A statement of facts agreed to by prosecutors and Portway's defense lawyer detailed his crimes.
ICE said in a press release Monday that Portway "engaged in numerous chats with many individuals about a mutual interest in abducting, raping, murdering and eating children. Many of these conversations were accompanied by the trading of child pornography."
The online chats date back to 2010. Portway allegedly asked a Kansas man named Michael Arnett and others to kidnap children, so that Portway could abuse them. Authorities said Portway's computer contained proof that he exchanged child porn with other users more than 4,500 times.
While serving a search warrant at Portway's home on Beechmont Street, investigators found a soundproof dungeon in the basement. The room contained a child-sized coffin, a cage and a table fitted with restraints.
"Outside these rooms were a cabinet freezer, an upright freezer, disposable scalpels, butchering kits and castration tools," the ICE statement read. "This dungeon was described in detail by Portway in recovered chats as a place he intended to use to keep kidnapped children while he sexually abused them, and as a place to eventually murder and cannibalize the children."
The investigation stemmed from the 2010 arrest of Robert A. Diduca, 48, of Milford. He was convicted of producing child pornography and sentenced to 18 years in prison.
In all, 51 people have been arrested worldwide as part of the case, dubbed Operation Holitna. Investigators say more than 160 children were victimized.
Portway is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 2. In addition to prison time, he faces supervised release for the rest of his life, restitution and possible deportation. He will likely also be required to register as a Level 3 sex offender.
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