Criminal Justice

Former BigLaw partner gets 17 years in sex-trafficking case, says FBI may have saved him from hell

A former partner at Allen & Overy was sentenced to 17.5 years in prison on Thursday after admitting he sexually molested a 6-year-old boy in the bathroom of a Brussels hotel room.

Edward DeSear, 67, of Saddle River, N.J., pleaded guilty to one count of sex trafficking of a child and four counts of distributing child pornography, according to the Am Law Daily (sub. req.), the Bergen County Record and a press release.

Before his sentencing in Newark federal court, DeSear told the judge he was “crushed with remorse and shame,” according to the account by the Bergen County Record. “The FBI may have saved me from hell,” DeSear said. “And I hope to do some good with my life.”

DeSear was accused of paying the boy’s father to arrange his transportation from Paris to Brussels. At the time, DeSear was a partner in the New York office of Allen & Overy, according to the Am Law Daily.

DeSear was also accused of distributing child pornography via a peer-to-peer file-sharing program. The indictment said he accessed the peer-to-peer network in 2010 using the wireless network of his then-law firm—identified as Bingham McCutchen by the Am Law Daily. A Bingham spokesperson told the publication that the firm cooperated fully with the investigation during the brief time DeSear was there.

DeSear agreed to pay $1.2 million in restitution, with most of the money going to the boy he abused.

According to the Am Law Daily, DeSear once chaired the structured finance practice at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. In 2003, he jumped to McKee Nelson, which was acquired by Bingham in 2009. He joined Allen & Overy in 2010, where he was a partner until his indictment in 2011.

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