NEWBURYPORT — A Webster man ordered to stay away from children after his arrest last month for allegedly sending a pornographic image of himself to an undercover Newbury police officer posing as a teen, was handing out candy to children on Halloween, according to an Essex County prosecutor.
Stephen Dery, 59, of 13 Eastern Ave., was in Newburyport District Court on Thursday for a bail revocation hearing stemming from his arrest in Webster on Tuesday.
He was arraigned on Oct. 28 on charges of sending obscene matter to a minor and distributing obscene matter and posted $1,000 bail. Among the bail conditions set by Judge Peter Doyle was that Dery have no contact with anyone under age 18.
His most recent arrest was made after a witness saw Dery sitting on his porch giving candy to trick-or-treaters last Thursday. The witness then called police who arrested him days later, according to Essex County prosecutor Shailagh Kennedy.
"Days after his arraignment, he's handing out candy on Halloween," Kennedy said, calling it a "blatant violation of his conditions of his release."
As Kennedy was arguing her case to Judge Allen Swan, a court officer with handcuffs in his hand stood behind Dery.
Dery's attorney, David Newton, disputed Kennedy's recalling of events.
"It was his son on the porch (handing out candy)," Newton said.
Newton went on to challenge the eyesight of the witness who, according to Newton, was several feet away in a moving car while rain was coming down.
"We all remember Halloween, there was a storm," Newton said, adding he wanted a chance to cross-examine the witness.
Swan said he'd also like to hear from the witness and ordered the hearing continued to next Wednesday. Dery was able to leave the courtroom with his attorney.
An Arizona detective had called Newbury police Detective Sgt. Aaron Wojtkowski on May 30, saying he had been chatting with a Webster man who believed the detective was a 14-year-old girl, according to a police report.
Over the last year, Wojtkowski has become well-known outside Greater Newburyport for his efforts to identify and arrest those looking to connect with underage teens and children.
During the sexually explicit chats, Dery sent the Arizona detective a photo of himself wearing only underwear and then asked for a sexual photo in return.
The Arizona detective gave Dery’s phone number to Wojtkowski and asked that he take over.
Wojtkowski first texted Dery on June 3, pretending to be a 14-year-old girl. During their chats, Dery showed sexual interest, repeatedly asked sexually suggestive questions and asked for explicit photos. Dery eventually began sending Wojtkowski photos of himself, first only in his underwear and then on July 17, an image of his genitals, according to Wojtkowski.
Wojtkowski eventually sought a warrant for Dery’s arrest.
Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.