NFL Game Hacker and Child Abuse Offender Sentenced to Two Centuries in Prison


Samuel Arthur Thompson (53, St. Augustine) was found guilty of violating the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), producing, receiving, and possessing child sex abuse material (CSAM), producing CSAM while required to register as a sex offender, sending unauthorized damaging commands to a protected computer, and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. U.S. District Judge Brian J. Davis sentenced Thompson to 220 years in federal prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release.

Additionally, Thompson was ordered by the court to give up a pistol and laptops that were involved in the charges. On November 17, 2023, a federal jury found Thompson guilty.

Thompson was found guilty of sodomizing a 14-year-old boy in Alabama in 1998, according to court records and evidence presented during the trial and sentence. As a result, he was declared a convicted felon and had to register as a sex offender, which included disclosing his foreign travel. Since Thompson was a convicted felon, he was also not allowed to own firearms.

About 2013, the Jacksonville Jaguars recruited Thompson as a contractor to help with the design and setup of their new Jumbotron video board network. Thompson was then later brought on to run the Jumbotron during games. Thompson was required by his contract with the Jaguars to disclose his conviction, but he chose not to. The Jaguars decided not to extend Thompson’s contract in January 2018 after discovering his conviction and registration as a sex offender.

Before his contract expired in March 2018, Thompson set up remote access software on a backup server located in the Jaguars’ server room. Then, during three NFL games in the 2018 season, Thompson gained remote access to the computers that managed the Jumbotron, resulting in frequent malfunctions with the television boards.

The Jaguars conducted an investigation and found that a malicious actor was using the spare server to send orders, which was the source of the outages. The Jaguars established a “honeypot” on December 16, 2018, by cutting the server’s connection to the other computers in charge of the jumbotron and placing it on its network.

The backup server was once more remotely accessed during the subsequent NFL game, and an attempt was made to utilize it to issue commands to the computers running the Jumbotron. The Federal Bureau of Investigation was able to link the intruder’s Internet Protocol (IP) address—which the Jaguars were able to obtain—to Thompson’s home.

Several of Thompson’s devices were taken by the FBI when they carried out a federal search warrant at his residence in July 2019. Additionally, they took a gun from Thompson’s nightstand, which he was not allowed to have because he was a convicted criminal.

Thompson’s iPhone, iPad, and two computers were all used to remotely access the spare server, according to log files from those devices. On Thompson’s devices, the FBI also discovered hundreds of films and thousands of photographs that showed CSAM, including scenes of young children being sexually abused, children being held captive and tortured, and bestiality. In addition, Thompson’s June 2019 film and set of images were featured in the CSAM.

The video was shot in Thompson’s living room, and at the beginning, you could hear Thompson’s voice talking to the kids. Further investigation of Thompson’s iPad showed that at the time the FBI knocked on his door requesting a search warrant, he was looking for CSAM on the dark web.

Three male children who were acquainted with Thompson in 2019 were subsequently interviewed, and the results showed that Thompson had exposed himself to the children, molested two of them, exposed the children to CSAM, talked to the children about sex and masturbation, and encouraged the children to play a “game” in which they had to run around and take off their clothes. Thompson created CSAM as the kids were engaged in their “game.” At the time, the kids were 7, 8, and 10 years old.

From July 6–14, 2019, Thompson went on a work trip to The Bahamas. Thompson registered as a sex offender on July 15, 2019, however, he neglected to notify the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) about this trip. Thompson obtained CSAM via the dark web on the same day.

Thompson left for the Philippines on July 27, 2019, but once again he neglected to disclose his whereabouts. On January 31, 2020, Thompson’s passport was canceled, and he was deported from the Philippines. Upon his arrival in the US, the FBI seized him and subsequently ordered his detention until his trial.

Two more youngsters, one of whom Thompson met while he was escaping prosecution in July 2019, had been sexually abused by Thompson, according to an FBI probe.

Agent in Charge Coult Markovsky of FBI Jacksonville said, “This case exemplifies the unrelenting tenacity of investigators who pursue justice for innocent victims of crime.” Samuel Thompson caused unimaginable suffering to his victims by abusing and taking advantage of helpless children regularly.

Additionally, he misused and took advantage of his employment by manipulating their computers with malicious software, which, if undetected, might have caused far more harm. Let this sentence serve as a promise to all criminal victims that the FBI and its allies will relentlessly go after those who take advantage of them.

The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation all looked into this matter. Assistant United States Attorneys Brenna Falzetta, Adam Duso, and Laura Cofer Taylor prosecuted it. Mai Tran and Jennifer Harrington, Assistant United States Attorneys, are in charge of the asset seizure.

The Department of Justice announced Project Safe Childhood, a national campaign, in May 2006 to address the growing problem of child sexual exploitation and abuse. This case was brought as part of the initiative.

Under the direction of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) and the United States Attorneys’ Offices, Project Safe Childhood gathers federal, state, and local resources to find, arrest, and prosecute child sex offenders as well as to identify and rescue victims. Please visit for further details about Project Safe Childhood.

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