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Dominick Pelletier arrived at FBI offices on Aug. 29, 2008, for a job interview. The FBI requires applicants to take a polygraph examination, and Pelletier signed a "Consent to Interview with Polygraph," that stated: "I understand that I am not in custody, that my participation in the polygraph examination is voluntary, and that I may leave at any time."
Pelletier failed the polygraph interview. He explained to the interviewing agent that he had trouble with some of the questions because of files on his home computer which included child pornography. Pelletier claimed that the images had been part of a research project that he conducted as a graduate student.
Despite the investigation, "it seems that Pelletier left the interview room believing he was still in the running for an FBI job," the 7th Circuit said. "Pelletier told the agents that his research on child pornography would help him to track down criminals, and, just before leaving to go home, Pelletier asked if 'this was going to slow down the application process.'"
Townshend was cautioned by the British police in 2003 as part of Operation Ore. Following a news leak that suggested to Townshend that he was among the subjects of the investigation, he came forward to publicly state that on one occasion, he had used a credit card to register with a website advertising child pornography. Townshend, who had posted essays on his personal website in 2002 as part of his campaign against the widespread availability of child pornography on the internet, claimed that he had entered the site for research purposes and had not downloaded any images. A four-month police investigation, including forensic examination of all of his computers, established that Townshend was not in possession of any illegal downloaded images. The police elected to caution him, stating, "It is not a defence to access these images for research or out of curiosity." In a statement issued by his lawyer, Townshend said, "I accept that I was wrong to access this site, and that by doing so, I broke the law, and I have accepted the caution that the police have given me."