CONCORD, NH – A former juvenile parole officer at the state Division of Children, Youth and Families is to plead guilty in federal court to possessing images of child pornography and attempting to transfer pornographic material to a minor.
Jason Ellis, 45, of Derry is to enter the plea on June 9, 2022, in U.S. District Court.
He was arrested Feb. 16, 2022, and fired about a week later. He has been detained since his arrest.
The complaint alleged he engaged in sexually graphic online chats with an undercover FBI officer posing as a 13-year-old girl. During those chats, authorities said Ellis sent an image of an erect penis to the officer.
In another online chat in January of 2022, he sent an undercover officer an image of a nude, prepubescent girl engaged in sexually explicit conduct, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Ellis is among those named in lawsuits filed by more than 450 people alleging they were sexually and/or physically abused by state employees while detained at the Youth Development Center, now known as the Sununu Youth Services Center, in Manchester. However, he is not among the 11 former employees arrested on criminal offenses.
Ellis was hired as a juvenile probation/parole officer IV, jail compliance monitor in 2003, according to the state Personnel Appeals Board.
He was fired from his job in January 2017 after being placed on suspension for 2 ½ years. He prevailed in his appeal of that termination and was later reinstated with full benefits.
He was terminated for alleged repeated unauthorized use or gross misuse of his state computer for excessive personal use and because of some of the content of his emails and internet searches. One of the accusations was that he forwarded a recipe using marijuana to his private e-mail account and to co-workers. Elis argued that marijuana edibles are popular with juveniles, and it was his job to be aware of this.
His supervisors also were concerned with another email he sent to a police officer concerning his brother’s DUI arrest.
The appeals board reversed his firing, saying Ellis acted professionally when he asked another officer if it would be appropriate to contact the arresting officer. And the board said Ellis’ explanation regarding the marijuana recipe and keeping up with ways juveniles were using it was reasonable.
Ellis, the board noted, had never been disciplined before and had received satisfactory annual performance reviews.