Dumb Criminal of the Week: The Job Candidate Who Told the FBI about His Child Porn Stash

A blog about murder, theft, and other wickedness.
Nov. 29 2012 12:35 PM

Dumb Criminal of the Week: The Job Candidate Who Told the FBI about His Child Porn Stash

FBI agents
FBI agents Adam Conrath (L) and Dina Gray during a terrorism response exercise coordinated by the US Department of Homeland Security.

Photo by DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

Name: Dominick Pelletier

Crime: Possession of child pornography.

Fatal mistakes: Misunderstanding the “Investigation” part of “Federal Bureau of Investigation”; believing that honesty is always the best policy.

Advertisement

The circumstances: On Aug. 29, 2008—his birthday—Pelletier interviewed for a job with the FBI. During the interview, Pelletier volunteered that he had once done research on child pornography as part of a graduate school project. As the interview progressed, Pelletier revealed to the incredulous agents that he had child pornography on his home computer, that he possibly had hardcore child pornography on his home computer, and that he had “inadvertently” created child pornography by filming himself having sex with an underage girl. Not only did Pelletier volunteer all this information, he apparently went home thinking he was still a candidate for the job: Upon leaving, he inquired if “this was going to slow down the application process.”

Yeah, it sort of did. Earlier this year, Pelletier was convicted of one count of possession of child pornography and sentenced to 80 months in federal prison with no possibility of parole. Last week, the Seventh Circuit affirmed Pelletier’s conviction. The opening of Judge Michael Kanne’s tremendously entertaining opinion is worth quoting in full:

Federal investigative agents will tell you that some cases are hard to solve. Some cases require years of effort—chasing down false leads and reigning in flighty witnesses. Others require painstaking scientific analysis, or weeks of poring over financial records for a hidden clue. And some cases are never solved at all—the right witness never comes forward, the right lead never pans out, or the right clue never turns up.
This is not one of those cases.

Indeed.

Now, on to the alternative-history part of this feature, where we examine how Dominick Pelletier might have done things differently.

How he could’ve been a lot smarter: He could have avoided downloading child porn entirely, instead doing his grad school research on how to succeed at job interviews.

How he could’ve been a little smarter: “The pornography was downloaded by my identical twin brother, who also has the same name as me.”

How he could’ve been a little dumber: “Not only did I download child pornography, I made it into a T-shirt, which, as you can see, I am wearing today.”

How he could’ve been a lot dumber: “I actually brought enough T-shirts for everyone, and I’d feel a lot more comfortable if you all put them on right now.”

Ultimate Dumbness Ranking (UDR): “Child porn downloader applies for FBI job” is the horrifying sex-crime equivalent of “Overweight burglar gets stuck in chimney.” I’ll give him 8 out of 10 on the UDR scale, a loose metric that I just made up.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Buy a Small Business
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 PM Inking the Deal Why tattoo parlors are a great small-business bet.
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?