November 20, 2012

Federal agents hunt former prosecutor, child porn convict who slipped monitoring bracelet

James Cameron, 50, of Rome, formerly of Hallowell, apparently removed the electronic device on Thursday, hours after a Boston court hearing that vacated 6 of 13 convictions against him

By Craig Crosby ccrosby@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

and Michael Shepherd mshepherd@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

Hours after learning his appeal of child porn charges failed and he was likely headed back to prison, Maine's former top drug prosecutor cut off his electronic monitoring bracelet and fled.

James Cameron

The US Marshals Service wanted poster for James Cameron.

Contributed photo

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Authorities asked that anyone with information about Cameron's whereabouts to contact the nearest U.S. Marshals Office in Portland at 780-3355 or call the U.S. Marshals Service Headquarters at 1-877-WANTED2.

James Cameron, 50, of Rome, formerly of Hallowell, is being hunted by the U.S. Marshals Service and law enforcement nationwide, authorities said Monday. The court-ordered electronic monitoring device was a condition of release pending Cameron's appeal of an August 2010 conviction on 13 federal charges of transportation, receipt and possession of child pornography.

Marshals said Cameron fled early Thursday morning just hours after the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston upheld seven of the 13 convictions against him and gave the government room to re-try Cameron on six overturned convictions.

Cameron had 15 years remaining of the original 16 year sentence.

"We don't know where he is, but we're following up on leads anywhere and everywhere," said Deputy Dean Knightly, who oversees the District of Maine for the Marshals Service.

Cameron was last seen in Hallowell driving a tan 1999 Audi A6, license plate 2333PL, according to marshals. That car, which he owns, is missing.

Knightly said Cameron didn't leave a note and there is no indication he has harmed himself. Marshals have not heard of Cameron contacting anyone since fleeing, Knightly said.

Cameron visited his ex-wife, Barbara Cameron, and the couple's 17-year-old son Wednesday afternoon in Hallowell shortly after learning of the appeal court's decision, according to a declaration seeking bail revocation filed in the U.S. District Court in Bangor by U.S. Probation Officer Mitchell Oswald.

Barbara Cameron said her ex-husband was "not doing well" and told their son he was going back to prison, Oswald wrote.

Knightly said Barbara Cameron has been interviewed and said she doesn't know where her ex-husband went.

The monitoring bracelet Cameron was ordered to wear indicates he returned to his home in Rome at 8 p.m. on Wednesday. Knightly said someone, whom he wouldn't identify, saw Cameron in Rome that night.

At 12:46 a.m. Thursday, the bracelet showed he left the home without authorization. An hour later, responding to what he describes as a missed call from the monitoring device, Oswald called Cameron's home number and his cellphone and got no response. Oswald tried to call Cameron again between 7 and 8 a.m. and again failed to reach him.

Cameron's disappearance

Probation officers checked the Internet monitoring database on Cameron's computer and found no Internet activity since 8:33 p.m., the night before. Oswald's declaration said Cameron's monitoring bracelet was connected to a land line at his home that he was required to maintain.

Probation officers and Maine State Police visited Cameron's home around 10:30 a.m. Thursday. Knightly said he found out Cameron was gone at noon.

"Mr. Cameron and his vehicle were both gone," Oswald wrote. "His cellphone was in the house. The laptop computer that Pretrial Services monitored as a condition of release was also gone."

U.S. District Court Chief Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. issued a warrant for Cameron's arrest that day.

Knightly said the Marshals Service has been actively pursuing him since Thursday.

Knightly said from time Cameron disappeared Thursday said the agency made it public Monday the agency was following up on leads.

"We immediately began looking into possible locations and whereabouts once we were notified he was missing," said Knightly.

The Marshals Service said the hunt for Cameron was being conducted jointly with the Maine Violent Offender Task Force as well as local, county and state police.

Porn charges

Cameron was the chief drug crimes prosecutor in the Maine Office of the Attorney General, where he spent 18 years as an assistant attorney general.

(Continued on page 2)

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