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State employee charged with possession of child pornography; witness claims he viewed images at work

A Department of General Services employee is charged with possession of child pornography after investigators say they found explicit images on his work laptop.

Stephen Cormack, 70, of Baltimore County faces up to eight years in state prison on charges of child pornography and illegal access of a computer. Court documents say a co-worker observed Cormack viewing images at his department’s office on West Preston Street.

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Cormack was charged May 1 and is awaiting a jury trial Tuesday in Baltimore City Circuit Court, court records state.

A month after the state charges were filed, federal investigators filed an 18-page affidavit to support a search warrant in U.S. District Court detailing how investigators came to learn of Cormack’s alleged behavior and outlining an extensive pattern. A co-worker told Maryland State Police he might have been viewing pornography at work for several years.

The co-worker called police Feb. 1, the affidavit states. He and Cormack had known each other for about 20 years, the affidavit states, and the co-worker had “noticed ‘suspicious’ behavior” from Cormack, including at least one other instance in which the co-worker says he observed Cormack searching for child pornography.

“(The co-worker) has observed CORMACK move from his work computer to his personal laptop computer back and forth during the day,” the affidavit states. “CORMACK also keeps his personal computer where it cannot be readily observed and closes the display whenever someone approaches.”

“(The co-worker) has observed this type of behavior by CORMACK over the years and expressed regret over not coming forward sooner with the information.”

An attorney for Cormack did not return calls for comment Tuesday.

A spokesman for the Department of General Services said he could not comment on what the agency is calling a “personnel matter.” The spokesman would not say whether Cormack has been fired or suspended.

Cormack was hired by the department Jan. 1, 1999, and was making an annual salary of $66,000, according to state records.

He’d previously been convicted of second-degree sex offense in 1996. He’d been charged with several offenses after he was accused of showing pornographic magazines to at least four boys, engaging in strip poker games and touching their genitals.

Maryland State Police investigators searched Cormack’s work computer March 28, the affidavit states, and found pornographic images depicting minors in sexually explicit activity. Internet searches for child pornography also were found, the affidavit states.

An investigator from The Department of Homeland Security joined the case and submitted am application asking to search several items, including Cormack’s personal laptop, several hard drives and USB memory drives.

When questioned by investigators, Cormack denied using his work computer to look at child pornography, but then stated “he had used Google and, if child pornography came up, he would look at it.”

“CORMACK denied producing or distributing or even saving any child pornography but admitted he had looked at child pornography,” the affidavit states.

He said he used “Google at work” to look at child pornography, the affidavit states, but did not remember any of the search terms he used or websites he visited.

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“CORMACK stated ‘if it comes up, I might look at it,’” the affidavit states.

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