Former Allen & Overy partner jailed for 17 years after pleading guilty to child sex trafficking

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By Alex Aldridge on

A former partner at magic circle firm Allen & Overy has been sentenced to over 17 years in jail after he admitted sexually molesting a six year-old boy and distributing child pornography over the internet.

Edward DeSear was a partner in Allen & Overy’s New York capital markets team when in June 2011 he arranged for the boy to travel from Paris to Brussels, where he sexually abused him in a hotel bathroom .

According to a press release issued last week by the District of New Jersey, DeSear facilitated the child’s international travel by, amongst other means, paying cash to the child’s parents.

The parents are a same-sex Australian couple who were sentenced in the US earlier this year to 30 and 40 years in prison. Mark Newton and Peter Truong reportedly bought the child from his Russian mother for $8,000 (£4,900) in 2005, before taking him to various countries where they allowed other men to abuse him and made hardcore videos that were distributed across a global paedophile network.

Alongside his prison sentence, DeSear, 67, was ordered to pay $1.1 million (£670,000) to the abused child and $100,000 (£61,000) to the victims whose images he distributed.

DeSear was first charged with distribution of child pornography in July 2011. At which point he immediately resigned from Allen & Overy, where he had arrived in 2010 from US firm Bingham McCutchen.


After being released on bail, DeSear was taken into custody again in August 2012 and charged with multiple further offences related to images of children being sexually abused.

These included DeSear’s use of a peer-to-peer file-sharing programme in 2010 to download hundreds of images and videos depicting the sexual exploitation of young children.

An indictment disclosed by prosecutors claimed that DeSear used the wireless network of his former firm to access the peer-to-peer network. In a statement issued at the time, Bingham McCutchen said that it “cooperated fully with authorities in their investigation while [De Sear] was briefly with the firm and after his departure in July 2010.”

The child sex trafficking admission, which only came to light last week, marks what seems to be the final twist in a shocking and disturbing case.

Before his sentencing in Newark federal court on Thursday, a shackled DeSear told the judge that he was “crushed with remorse and shame,” adding: “The FBI may have saved me from hell…And I hope to do some good with my life.”

When contacted by Legal Cheek, Allen & Overy declined to comment, pointing out that it has been over two years since DeSear left the firm.