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Prominent Saratoga blogger arrested on child pornography charges

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
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John Tighe.
John Tighe.

— State Police took a controversial Saratoga County blogger into custody on child pornography charges after a search of his seized computer revealed videos depicting sexual performances by a child under the age of 16.

John Tighe, 57, of Milton, was arrested Wednesday on three counts of possessing a sexual performance by a child and three counts of promoting a sexual performance of a child — all felonies. He was sent to Saratoga County Jail but released after posting $20,000 bond.

Investigators raided Tighe’s residence Oct. 23 and seized several computers. A subsequent review of material removed from his residence by the state police Computer Crimes Unit located multiple images and videos depicting a sexual performance by a child, according to police.

Tighe is scheduled to appear Monday in Milton Town Court.

Tighe, who wrote the “Saratoga in Decline” blog, was one of three people targeted by state police during the raid last fall. Investigators also seized computers and computer-related documents from individuals in Schenectady and in the Rochester area.

The seizures were the result of a search warrant issued in Albany County, which stemmed from an April 2012 complaint by the group NXIVM and founder Keith Raniere, whom Tighe frequently described as a cult leader. The complaint alleged a larceny of computer-related information, though investigators didn’t elaborate.

After the raid, Tighe pulled his blog posts off-line and told his readers his site would remain closed until further notice. The normally outspoken blogger has remained silent about the raid ever since.

Lee Kindlon, Tighe’s attorney since last fall, said his client’s arrest came as a complete surprise. He said he’s been in contact with state police for months and was never alerted to their intention of pressing charges against Tighe.


John Tighe, left, pictured with Theresa Grafflin at a table outside The Daily Grind on Lark Street in Albany in 2012.

“This came with no notice whatsoever,” said Kindlon, who learned of the arrest from Tighe’s wife. “Up until today, it was radio silence.”

Kindlon also questioned the progress of the investigation — from the search warrant originating in Albany County to his arrest and arraignment in Saratoga County. He said Tighe used his blog to be “a very outspoken critic of a number of very powerful people in the area.”

“Anytime someone wants to speak truth about powerful people and that speaker is then silenced, it has broad implications for how our society functions,” he said.

“We are confident we have evidence to sustain our burden of proof,” said James Muphy III, Saratoga County District Attorney, who said the material involved elementary school-age children.

Tighe was the focus of an article on local bloggers that appeared in The Gazette in 2012.

Critics of his blog considered him a pariah spewing a vitriolic and notalways-accurate account of news unfolding in the region; others viewed him as a valuable news source who picked up the slack left by the professional media.

“I’ve made a lot of enemies,” Tighe told The Gazette in 2012, “but I’ve also made a lot of friends.”

A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Tighe's age. He is 57.

 
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