A former naval officer pleaded guilty Wednesday to distributing videos depicting the sexual assault of children and unlawful retention of classified national defense information, according to the Department of Justice.
Former Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Edward McLean, 39, who served a the executive officer of the pre-commissioned littoral combat ship Minneapolis-St. Paul until late 2021, was indicted in September 2022.
State law enforcement in Rhode Island originally launched an investigation following a a tip that a user shared videos portraying sexual abuse of young children, and later determined that user was McLean, according to the Justice Department.
McLean’s indictment alleged that he used the screen names “twisteddesire 3210″ and “twisteddesire3213″ to share content “of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct” in November 2020, Navy Times previously reported.
The FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service picked up the investigation and found other cases where McLean shared child sexual abuse material.
Agents conducted a federal search warrant of McLean’s home in November 2021, where they obtained multiple electronic devices and media storage.
“A forensic review revealed that several of these items contained files depicting the sexual abuse of minors,” the Justice Department said in a news release Wednesday.
“The forensic review also identified a flash drive – which had been recovered from McLean’s kitchen counter – that contained approximately 150 documents containing national defense information classified at the Secret level and 50 documents containing national defense information classified at the Confidential level,” the Justice Department said.
According to an investigation the FBI and NCIS conducted, McLean accessed classified information through his top secret security clearance.
The Feds say he unlawfully retained national defense information pertaining to foreign combat aircraft and naval capabilities at his home – even though he signed onto various agreements that stipulated how to properly handle this and knew his home was not approved to store this information.
“Disclosure of this information could reasonably be expected to cause damage and, in some instances, serious damage to the national security of the United States,” the Justice Department said.
McLean faces up to 20 years behind bars for distributing child exploitation materials, and up to 10 years for retaining classified information. A sentencing date is not scheduled yet.