City places Rochester firefighter, accused of possessing 1,300-plus images of child porn, on unpaid leave

UPDATE: The City of Rochester placed Brett Marrapese, accused of possessing more than 1,300 images and 121 videos of child pornography and coercing minors, on unpaid leave.

A statement from the city says it’s seeking to end Marrapese’s employment “given the nature of the crimes of which he is accused.”

Investigators say from as far back as 2016, Marrapease was sending and receiving images while on-duty as a Rochester Firefighter at Engine 3 on Emerson Street.  While the City of Rochester restricts what websites employees can access using the department’s service, for years it has allowed the firefighters to pay for a separate internet service for personal use. 

The Firefighter Union pays for the personal internet and cable service at firehouses and says it has allowed members who work 12-24 hour shifts to be able to pay bills, watch shows ,and get other tasks done during downtime in between calls. 

Rochester Mayor Malik Evans’ office says that while the private internet service was allowed under previous administrations, he is currently revisiting that permission, and is likely to pull it since the firefighters are inside taxpayer funded buildings on taxpayer time while on duty. 

Union President Eddie Santigao says while he realizes in this case, the private internet is alleged to have been wildly misused, he doesn’t feel all firefighters should be penalized because of the actions of one, and is hoping to meet with the City before a final determination is made. 

ROCHESTER, N,Y. – A Rochester Fire Department member is accused of coercing young people into sending him explicit images and of having a trove of images showing young children being sexually abused.

Investigators have allegedly found 1,393 images and 121 videos of child pornography on Brett Marrapese’s cell phone. Some of the images and videos depict the violent sexual abuse of children as young as toddlers, they say.

Marrapese, 31, of Irondequoit was arrested and charged June 22 with production, distribution, receipt, and possession of child pornography, including child pornography depicting prepubescent minors less than 12 years old. He faces at least 15 years in prison per count for a maximum of 30 years and a $250,000 fine.

According to the feds, Marrapese sometimes accessed child pornography while using the RFD’s internet service. He works at the fire station on Emerson Street.

According to the complaint, in 2016 and 2021, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children was tipped off that someone was uploading suspected child pornography in Rochester. New York State Police investigated and traced it to an internet provider address associated with the RFD. Police traced the source to an IP address at the Gardiner Avenue fire station. In 2021, another tip led people to the firehouse on Emerson Street, where according to investigators he was stationed then. State Police spoke with RPD employees in 2016 and 2021 – including Marrapese, who denied ever viewing child pornography.

On March 20, 2023, the Irondequoit Police Department received a report from the father of a 13-year-old girl, concerned that his daughter was communicating online with an adult posing as a teen. Irondequoit Police identified another minor who had also communicated with that individual on Snapchat. Investigators say Marrapese received him explicit images from both girls.

Investigators say Marrapese communicated with at least 110 minors and caused “multiple” minors to produce and send him child pornography. In most instances, the feds say Marrapese claimed to be a teenager or similar age as the minors with whom he was communicating.

According to the complaint, some of the images on Marrapese’s cell phone depict “the sadistic and masochistic sexual abuse of minors, depictions of violence, and images of children as young as infants and toddlers.”

They also allege he took photos of young girls in bathing suits, at an amusement park, and at a grocery store.

They also say he superimposed pornographic images onto images of children to make it look like they were engaged in sexual activity. Two of the children in the images are 6 and 12, and “close acquaintances” of Marrapese and his family, according to the complaint. One photo was taken in Marrapese’s garage, while the other was taken from the social media account of one of the moms, investigators say.

“It is not known whether Marrapese has distributed these images, however, the FBI is endeavoring to identify and locate any individuals who may be depicted in such images,” according to the complaint.

Investigators believe there could be more victims. Anyone with information regarding defendant Marrapese, the Instagram user “Taylorsimpson2419” (Screenname “Taylor”) or the Snapchat user “Thatdude_2790” (screenname “Taylor”) is asked to contact the FBI tipline at (585) 279-0085.

A spokeswoman for the City of Rochester said, “Brett Marrapese remains on suspension. Employment actions will be taken in the coming days based on the allegations in the federal complaint against him. The City defers all additional comment to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”