New Child Porn Charge for Former City Employee on House Arrest

Grant Shea was out on bail awaiting trial on earlier pornography charges when the FBI searched his South Philly home on Monday and found something disturbing.

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Since his arrest last summer on computer-related child porn charges, former city employee Grant Shea has had a pretty easy time of things.

Scheduled to go to trial next week to face those charges, Shea, 29, has been hanging out at the South Philly home he owns, released on his own recognizance. He has, for some ungodly reason, been allowed to have a computer connected to the internet, albeit one monitored by the government. And he was permitted to leave the city on two occasions to spend holidays with family. Not bad for a guy whose computers allegedly contained pornographic images of children under the age of 12.

Well, things just got a little more complicated for Shea. On Monday, federal authorities arrested him again.

Over the last few months, investigators have been following up on leads regarding various online accounts and conversations that prosecutors say involved child pornography.

According to a criminal complaint filed in federal court, the FBI traced some of that activity to Shea’s home, where he lives alone, over a time period when he has been on house arrest. Prosecutors also say that some of the activity occurred at his parents’ New Jersey home around Christmas, when Shea was allowed to go visit them. The FBI was also able to determine that one of the accounts in question had been accessed on a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone.

On Monday, the FBI executed a search warrant of Shea’s home on the 2000 block of South Dorrance Street. There, prosecutors allege, investigators found a Samsung Galaxy S4 phone containing one of the accounts in question as well as a photo of a prepubescent boy being anally penetrated by an adult male.

Shea has been charged with one count of possession of child pornography. In the earlier case, filed in July, Shea was charged with receipt, distribution, and possession of child pornography. While he has yet to enter a plea in the new case, Shea pleaded not guilty to all of the other charges.

Prior to his first arrest, Shea was a rising star in Philadelphia’s Office of Emergency Management, where he held the title of Health and Human Services Program Manager.

“Due to personal reasons, Grant Shea has resigned from his position effective immediately,” wrote OEM director Samantha Phillips in an internal email to staff as news got out that he was in custody. “I cannot discuss this further, but please know that Grant left cordially and will be dearly missed.”

According to Shea’s since-deleted biography on the Office of Emergency Management’s website, Shea is originally from Point Pleasant, New Jersey. He graduated from Rutgers and then went on to obtain his master’s degree from Philadelphia University. Before joining the city payroll, Shea worked as a volunteer EMT and as an emergency department technician at Jersey Shore University Medical Center.

At the OEM, Shea was in charge of a team that planned for the medical and hazardous materials aspects of emergencies in the city. He was involved in the city’s response to the fatal Amtrak crash.

Shea’s attorney, William Brennan, says he has no comment on this new arrest.

Meanwhile, Shea remains in federal detention, and we’re guessing he doesn’t get such a sweet bail deal this time.

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