Port Neches investigators’ “meticulous and painstaking work” puts child predator behind bars

Published 12:24 am Friday, November 3, 2023

PORT NECHES — The United States Attorney’s Office District of Massachusetts honored two members of Port Neches law enforcement with Outstanding Collaborative Investigation Awards last week for their part in putting an online child predator behind bars.

In 2018, Chief Cheri Griffith, then a detective, and Detective Scott Thompson, then a patrolman, worked on a case of online solicitation of a child.

The case moved up to Homeland Security, and later Griffith and Thompson went to Boston to testify in the trial of Brian Orlandella, who was an assistant chief probation officer in Massachusetts.

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Griffith and Thompson recently attended the United States Attorney’s Office District of Massachusetts Law Enforcement Public Service Awards, Griffith said.

She said they coordinated with Massachusetts and Homeland Security, adding Homeland Security officials came to Port Neches during the investigation.

Port Neches Det. Scott Thompson, left, and Chief Cheri Griffith pose next to the United States Attorney’s Office sign. (Courtesy photo)

The case

The case came to light when a mother found explicit messages on her 13-year-old daughter’s phone and had no idea who had been requesting nude videos and sending obscene photos and videos, according to information presented during the award.

Griffith and Thompson “interviewed the mother, analyzed evidence on the victim’s phone and located a potential suspect through intrepid investigative work.”

The case was referred to Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, and a search warrant executed at Orlandella’s home and evidence collected.

Agent Nicole Sorrell coordinated across the jurisdictions through the preparation of two trials, one of which was a mistrial, and traveled halfway cross the country to accompany the victim’s mother to Boston for trial, the document read.

Orlandella was convicted of sexual exploitation of children and transfer of obscene material to a minor and sentenced to 17 years in federal prison.

“Without the meticulous and painstaking work of the Port Neches Police Department and HSI, as well as their seamless collaboration from the outset of the investigation through trial, we would not have been able to identify, prosecute and convict an individual who may well have continued to target children across the country on the Internet,” the document read.