Danvers

Boxes of Child Sex Abuse Images Found in Secret Room at Psychologist's Home

Authorities say hundreds of images were found in boxes in a hidden room uncovered by a contractor doing renovations at the home of Mark Ternullo in Danvers

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Investigators say a contractor uncovered boxes of photos and videos showing child sex abuse in a secret room in an apartment in Danvers, Massachusetts.

Mark Ternullo, a 68-year-old child psychologist, has lived in the multi-family home on Butler Avenue for 23 years.

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According to the Essex County District Attorney's Office, the building's owner hired the contractor to renovate the bathroom in Ternullo's apartment. When the worker took down the wall behind the bathtub, which had extensive water damage, the small hidden room was uncovered. Multiple boxes containing explicit images of children were stored, authorities said.

Police then obtained and executed a search warrant for Ternullo's apartment and found hundreds of photos and videos showing child sex abuse.

Ternullo had previously worked at a number of schools and community organizations, The Salem News reported.

He was arraigned Thursday in Salem District Court on a charge of possession of child pornography. He was ordered held on $10,000 bail, with conditions that he stay under house arrest with a GPS monitor, have no contact with children and not be allowed to use the internet.

The prosecution had asked that bail be set at $500,000, citing concern that Ternullo might flee. Defense attorney Mark Dewan sought $1,000 bail, saying his client has a number of health concerns including bladder cancer and diabetes.

A pre-trial conference has been scheduled for March 7.

Gov. Charlie Baker weighed in on Friday afternoon, tweeting that anyone in a case like this "should be kept away from the public + kids." But he said current law doesn't allow a judge to hold someone for possessing photos and videos showing child sex abuse.

He said legislation he proposed would protect the public and survivors by giving judges the ability to hold behind bars people charged with "heinous crimes" like this.

"It's long past time to update these laws to protect our communities," Baker said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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