Massachusetts State Police

Methuen police officer arrested on child pornography charge

Officer Matthew Bistany was due to appear in Lawrence District Court to face a charge of child pornography later Tuesday

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A Methuen police officer was arrested at his home Tuesday morning on a child pornography charge, Massachusetts State Police say.

Officer Matthew Bistany, 51, was taken into custody at his home in Methuen by the state police cybercrimes unit, with help from a state SWAT team and Methuen police, according to state police.

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Bistany appeared in Lawrence District Court to face the charge of child pornography Tuesday, where a judge approved $5,000 bail on condition that he not have unsupervised contact with children under 16.

It wasn't immediately clear if Bistany had an attorney who could speak to the charge.

Bistany was identified as a suspect in the uploading of child sexual assault material to the internet after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children sent a tip to the Massachusetts State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, officials said.

Methuen Police Chief Scott McNamara said Bistany was placed on leave, pending the result of the criminal investigation and any internal investigation, as soon as the department was informed about the allegations.

"While Officer Bistany is presumed innocent until proven guilty, the Methuen Police Department condemns the officer's conduct as alleged in the charging documents. These allegations in no way reflect upon the character and reputation of the men and women of the Methuen Police Department who stand committed to protecting children and continue to serve with distinction," McNamara said in a statement.

State police are "committed to protecting children, who are among the most vulnerable members of society, from sexual abuse, which is what child pornography is," the agency's leader, Col. John Mawn Jr., said in a statement.

Bistany was due back in court Oct. 3.

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