Albany County Sheriff’s EMT arrested for child porn

— From Samuel Groezinger’s Facebook page

Samuel Groezinger, taken from a photo posted by the Albany County Sheriff’s Office in October, congratulating him and eight other emergency medical technicians for joining the office’s division of emergency medical services.

GUILDERLAND — Samuel Groezinger, 19, of Guilderland, appeared in Guilderland Town Court Thursday night, charged with possessing and promoting child pornography. Town Justice Denise Randall waived the case to the grand jury.

Groezinger looked serious, wearing tan slacks and a navy sports coat, for his brief court appearance with his lawyer, Lee Kindlon, at his side.

Kindlon said Friday morning that, because Groezinger is “potentially a youth offender,” he had no comment.

Spokeswoman Cecilia Walsh of the Albany County District Attorney’s Office said Friday morning that Kindlon may be planning to file a motion seeking youthful offender status for Groezinger, if the alleged actions occurred before he was 19 years old, and that it would be up to the court to decide whether or not to grant it.

Under New York’s criminal law, defendants aged at least 16 years old and less than 19 may be granted youthful offender status at sentencing, “in the interest of justice to relieve eligible youth from the onus of having a criminal record.” Records would automatically be sealed at sentencing if youthful-offender status were granted.

Groezinger was arrested on Jan. 9 by the New York State Police.

According to state police, a warrant was obtained to search Groezinger’s home after a cybertip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children came in to the New York State Police Troop G Computer Crimes Unit.

An investigation revealed, state police say, that Groezinger possessed and promoted child pornography. Groezinger was taken into custody and processed at Troop G’s Latham headquarters; he was charged with possession of a sexual performance by a child and promoting a sexual performance by a child, both felonies, according to state police.

Spokeswoman Kerra Burns of the New York State Police said on Friday that the charge of “promoting” was brought because Groezinger shared the child pornography on the internet. She said a total of nine electronic devices were taken from the home, but that they had not been analyzed yet, so she did not know how many images or videos they might contain.

Burns said that Groezinger gave a statement to police.

On Jan. 9, following his arrest, Groezinger pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Guilderland Town Court before Judge John Bailey and was released on $30,000 bond.

Groezinger was hired as an emergency medical technician by the Albany County Sheriff’s Office in October 2018, according to Chief Deputy William M. Rice, the office’s spokesman. Groezinger was fired immediately upon his arrest, Rice said.

The office received no complaints about Groezinger prior to his arrest, Rice said, adding that he had handled about 20 calls, most involving elderly patients.

Groezinger graduated with high honors from Guilderland High School in January 2018. As a Farnsworth Middle School student, Groezinger wrote a letter to the Enterprise editor about building his own computer and encouraging others to do the same [“Building a computer isn’t rocket science,” Aug. 29, 2013].

According to his Facebook page, he worked for Mohawk Ambulance before joining the sheriff’s office. A spokesman for Mohawk Ambulance confirmed Friday that Groezinger had worked there in the past but no longer did, and said that he could not comment further.

Groezinger operated a landscaping business in Guilderland called NY ProServices LLC.

Groezinger did not return a call asking for comment.

According to Christine Barndt of the National Center for Missing or Exploited Children, a cybertip about suspected child sexual abuse online can come in either from a member of the public or from an electronic-service provider such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, Microsoft, and others.

Many companies, she said, undertake voluntary proactive measures to locate apparent child pornography on their platforms, which could include scanning for hash values and receiving complaints from users.

Child pornography is one of the types of abuse reported to the hotline; others are enticement of children for sexual acts, child sexual molestation, child sex tourism or trafficking, unsolicited obscene materials sent to a child; misleading domain names, and misleading words or digital images on the internet.

The national center received 18.4 million tips in 2018, Barndt said. The organization has received 44 million reports since the tipline was launched in 1998. “The numbers are growing exponentially,” Barndt said.

 

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