Alabama Sex Offender Convicted of Hacking Jacksonville Jaguars’ Jumbotron and Additional Heinous Crimes

In a disturbing case that spans years and involves multiple egregious offenses, 53-year-old Samuel Arthur Thompson, a convicted sex offender from Alabama, has been found guilty in a federal court in Florida. Thompson faced charges of hacking into the Jacksonville Jaguars’ jumbotron as an act of retaliation for his termination after the NFL team discovered his criminal history.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Florida revealed that Thompson was convicted of sending unauthorized damaging commands to a protected computer, specifically the Jaguars’ system. However, the scope of his criminal activities goes beyond hacking.

Thompson, hired by the Jaguars in 2013 for consultation on the design and installation of the team’s new video board, failed to disclose his status as a registered sex offender, a requirement stipulated in his contract. In 2018, upon learning of Thompson’s conviction, the team opted not to renew his contract.

Before his contract expiration in March 2018, Thompson surreptitiously installed software into the Jaguars’ system, enabling him to remotely access the computers controlling the jumbotron. This access allowed him to maliciously disrupt the video boards during three NFL games in the 2018 season.

Upon realizing the deliberate outages, the Jaguars initiated a countermeasure, setting up a “honeypot” to trace the source of the attacks. During the next game, Thompson attempted further interference, but this time, the team successfully captured the internet protocol (IP) address of the hacker computer. The FBI traced it back to Thompson’s residence.

A subsequent search warrant executed in July 2019 at Thompson’s home unearthed disturbing evidence. Not only had Thompson illegally accessed the Jaguars’ system, but his personal devices contained thousands of images and hundreds of videos depicting child pornography, including sexual abuse, bondage, torture of children, and bestiality.

Federal investigators further uncovered Thompson’s heinous actions towards three male children under his care, involving molestation, exposure to child sex abuse material (CSAM), and inappropriate discussions about sex and masturbation. Thompson had coerced the children into engaging in demeaning activities, including a twisted “game” where they were made to strip and run around his house, while he recorded the events.

Thompson’s criminal activities extended internationally as he traveled to the Bahamas and later fled to the Philippines without reporting his movements, as required by registered sex offenders. He was deported from the Philippines in January 2020 and taken into FBI custody upon his return to the U.S.

Following a two-week trial in U.S. District Court in Jacksonville, a federal jury handed down guilty verdicts. Thompson is set to be sentenced in March 2024 and faces a minimum sentence of 35 years under federal sentencing guidelines. This disturbing case underscores the gravity of Thompson’s actions and the extensive efforts taken by law enforcement to bring him to justice.

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