Sex offender, ex-Jags employee sentenced to 220 years in prison


A U.S. District judge in Florida sentenced a convicted sex offender to 220 years in federal prison for producing, receiving and possessing child sex abuse material, and for hacking the jumbotron in the Jacksonville Jaguars’ stadium after the team did not renew his contract upon learning that he was a registered sex offender.

U.S. District Judge Brian J. Davis sentenced Samuel Arthur Thompson, 53, for the offenses Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida said in a release. A federal jury convicted Thompson in November 2023 of the offenses, as well as of producing child sex abuse material while required to register as a sex offender, violating the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.

Thompson was previously convicted of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy in Alabama in 1998 and was required to register as a sex offender.

Federal prosecutors said in their release that Thompson was hired by the Jaguars around 2013 to help design and install the stadium’s main screen and was then tasked with running it on game days.

“Thompson’s contract with the Jaguars required him to report his conviction, but he did not. In January 2018, the Jaguars determined not to renew Thompson’s contract after learning of his conviction and status as a registered sex offender,” the release said. “Before the expiration of Thompson’s contract in March 2018, Thompson installed remote access software on a spare server in the Jaguars’ server room. Thompson then remotely accessed computers that controlled the Jumbotron during three 2018 season NFL games, causing the video boards to repeatedly malfunction.”

The Jaguars eventually found a spare server, and during its next game in December 2018 captured the IP address of the intruder attempting to remotely control the jumbotron. The FBI traced the intruder’s IP address to Thompson’s residence, per the release.

In July 2019, the FBI searched Thompson’s home, seizing his computers and a firearm that he was prohibited from possessing as a convicted felon. The FBI found files from Thompson’s devices that showed they were used to remotely access the spare server, as well as thousands of images and hundreds of videos depicting child sex abuse material, according to the release.

“Samuel Thompson repeatedly abused and exploited innocent children, inflicting immeasurable hurt on his victims,” Coult Markovsky, FBI Jacksonville’s acting special agent in charge, said in a statement. “He also abused and exploited his employer by installing malicious software to manipulate their systems, which could have caused significantly more damage if not detected.”

In a statement released in November after Thompson’s conviction, the Jaguars thanked prosecutors for their work on the case.

(Photo: Perry Knotts / Getty Images)

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