Tighe to serve 70 months in prison

The Saratogan/June 9, 2015

By Lauren Mineau

Former Saratoga in Decline blogger John Tighe was sentenced to 70 months in federal prison on Tuesday for child pornography related charges.

A representative for the U.S. District Court of Northern New York confirmed Tuesday afternoon that he was sentenced by Judge Thomas McAvoy to the prison sentence and 15 years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay restitution, though the amount was not disclosed.

The 57-year-old Milton man admitted to one count each of receiving child pornography and possession of child pornography, both felonies, in January. He faced a maximum sentence of at least five years but up to 20 years as well as a term of at least five year post-release supervision and a lifetime registration to the state sex offender registry.

As part of the guilty plea, he admitted that in June 2013 he knowingly received child pornography and in October 2013 knowingly possessed pornography involving prepubescent minors under the age of 12, according to a news release from the U.S. District Court in Albany. The case was investigated by state police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda W. Cox.

State police arrested Tighe in February 2014 after an investigation. Computers and electronics were seized by troopers in 2013 after a warrant was obtained to search the computer equipment for evidence relating to “depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit content. Law enforcement seized more than 400 video files of the suspected child pornography, according to court documents.

As state police investigators were removing evidence from his home, Tighe asked if he could “get in trouble” for anything on the computer aside from NXIVM, an organization based in Colonie that many describe as a cult. Troopers said that it was a possibility, to which Tighe told them his wife has no knowledge of what was on his computer, and that she was given her own, according to court papers.

Tighe pleaded guilty to an unrelated computer hacking charge in November 2014 in Albany County Court. On Nov. 6, 2014, he entered a guilty plea to a computer hacking-related felony charge for unauthorized access to a computer system owned by NXIVM, a self-improvement organization based in Colonie that many define as a cult. He said in court in November he estimated he accessed the organization’s server between 50 and 60 times using a woman’s user name and password without permission.

Tighe ran an often incendiary blog, “Saratoga in Decline,” that followed and frequently criticized elected officials in Saratoga Springs on an almost daily basis. The blog is no longer in service because he is without access to a computer.

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