Edward De Sear

Last summer, we brought you news about Saddle River, New Jersey, the beautiful town where my colleague David Lat spent his childhood (I grew up just one town over, in Upper Saddle River). But like every charming suburb, Saddle River apparently has a dark underbelly.

In July of last year, we discovered that Edward De Sear, a 64-year-old man who was an Allen & Overy partner at the time, had been arrested at his home and charged with distributing child pornography. The charge of distributing child pornography carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison and a maximum penalty of 20 years and a $250,000 fine.

De Sear was released on a $250,000 bond with electronic monitoring and never entered a plea. But it looks like the FBI was able to dig up some more information on his alleged pervy sexual preferences, because the ex-A&O partner was rearrested yesterday on eight additional kiddie porn charges.

Let’s learn more about the allegations against Ed De Sear, including details on where he supposedly viewed and trafficked child pornography….

De Sear now faces three counts of advertising child pornography, four counts of distributing child pornography, and one count of possessing child pornography. Here’s one account of what went down, from Am Law Daily:

The graphic 21-page indictment against De Sear unsealed Thursday alleges that he used an online peer-to-peer file-sharing program to download and distribute hundreds of illegal images. The program allowed De Sear to invite “friends” to join his network in order to share images and videos of children being sexually exploited. According to the indictment, at various points in 2010 and 2011 undercover law enforcement agents logged onto the program and downloaded files De Sear had made available online.

The indictment also claims that, in 2010, De Sear logged onto the peer-to-peer program using Allen & Overy’s Bingham McCutchen’s wireless network, at which point an undercover agent observed that De Sear was viewing and sharing videos featuring prepubescent boys being sexually exploited.

According to Thomson Reuters, some of the videos and images De Sear allegedly peddled online featured toddlers and infants. Here’s more sickening stuff straight from the indictment (available on the next page):

Holy crap. I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around how sick this is. It’s nauseating. (And for everyone who keeps telling me that child beauty pageants don’t attract pedophiles and their disgusting ilk, read it and weep.)

Edward De Sear was recognized by Chambers as a leading lawyer in securitization and structured finance, but according to the government’s allegations, it turns out that all he was doing over at Allen & Overy Bingham McCutchen was securing and structuring his alleged child porn ring while on the firm’s dime (“approximately once per week,” according to the indictment). How embarrassing for everyone at A&O Bingham.

And for those of you who are into real estate porn, as opposed to child porn, you must remember De Sear’s beautiful Lawyerly Lair — he lives in the Ackerman-Dater House, a historic landmark in Saddle River. The indictment alleges that this guy was watching and sharing kiddie porn from the home’s kitchen. Our apologies go out to the De Sear family, because your property value probably just dropped a little more.

Edward De Sear is now facing a maximum of 180 years in prison and up to $2 million in fines. He will be incarcerated until next Tuesday, when a follow-up hearing will be held in his case. He has yet to enter a plea.

We’ll keep you posted about developments in this case. If you know Ed De Sear personally and have information you can share, please email us (subject line: “Edward De Sear”). Thanks.

Click through to the following page if you’d like to see the indictment (warning: it’s graphic)….

UPDATE (7:45 p.m.): After doing some additional research (and thanks to a vigilant tipster), we have reason to believe that Edward De Sear was still working at Bingham McCutchen — not at Allen & Overy, as reported by other media outlets — when he logged onto the pornographic peer-to-peer program using an employer’s wireless network. From the indictment:

From approximately May 2003 to July 2010, and more importantly, “[o]n or about May 28, 2010,” De Sear was still a partner at Bingham. He did not join A&O until July 2010. For additional confirmation, here’s a screenshot from Ed De Sear’s LinkedIn profile:

If you knew De Sear during his time at Bingham McCutchen, and have any information on his final months and days with the firm, please email us. Thanks.


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