Police: Child porn, illegal guns found in home of longtime town meeting member

Jessica Scarpati

A Town Meeting member who made a name for himself as a government watchdog allegedly hoarded child pornography and illegal guns in his home, police said.

Magazines and photos depicting nude children and teens were reportedly uncovered as a cleaning company emptied the house of Michael S. Selib, whose home had been condemned and boarded up by the local health and building departments in June.

Selib, 62, of 5 Leland Road in South Brookline, was summonsed to court Aug. 28 on charges of purchase and possession of child pornography and possession of an unlawful weapon.

Selib, a Precinct 16 Town Meeting member, had been re-elected to the town’s legislative body for decades, active on many committees and often leading the charge in questioning controversial matters at Town Hall.

According to reports from when the house was condemned, police had found Selib unconscious amid mountains of trash, rotting food and debris.

He was transported to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at the time. His medical condition remained critical for weeks before he was eventually released.

But in the wake of the incident, neighbors reportedly told police a cleanup company unearthed scores of child pornography amid the piles of trash. Police later reportedly discovered more in the home.

“[A neighbor] removed several still slides of children [from the Dumpster], two magazines depicting nude teenage males,” police reports stated. “On the cover of the first magazine, a nude teen was sitting with his legs crouched and the second magazine also depicted a nude teenage male.”

He is scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 3 in Brookline District Court.

If convicted of possession of child pornography, Selib would be required to register as a sex offender in Massachusetts, according to Charles McDonald, a spokesman for the state’s Sex Offender Registry Board.

Town Clerk Pat Ward said the town has no provision concerning the removal of a Town Meeting member charged with or convicted of a crime.

“He would still lawfully serve in his Town Meeting seat,” Ward said.

According to police, the cleanup company found five magazines with photographs of nude prepubescent children.

“[The owner of the removal company] stated that they had removed numerous magazines from the residence and placed them in the Dumpster,” reports stated. “He observed the magazines to be foreign, possibly from Germany. He described one as depicting teenage males swimming in the nude.”

Elliot Weinstein, a lawyer representing Selib, said he had not seen the materials, but doubted the accuracy of the police report.

“The items seized are not within the category of constitutionally recognized illegal pornographic material,” Weinstein said. “Nude photographs are not, per se, unlawful.”

When a TAB reporter questioned Weinstein about the reported teenage and prepubescent children in the photos and magazines, Weinstein dismissed the allegations but declined to elaborate.

“My understanding leads me to believe there was nothing unlawful in the materials,” Weinstein said.

Police reports differed, however, stating that officers obtained a search warrant for the house and discovered magazines and pictures still inside the house “depicting what appear to be adults, teens and prepubescent teens nude and/or in various stages of undress.”

According to reports, police also found “hundreds of photographs of young children that were sent to WGBH television for the television show ‘Zoom’.”

Lucy Sholley, a spokeswoman for WGBH, said Selib was never employed at the public access network nor was he an employee of the casting agency that held the Zoom auditions.

The photos may have been printed from the show’s Web site, Sholley said.

“WGBH takes seriously our responsibility to ensure the privacy and safety of the children who appear on our children’s series,” she said in a statement. “In addition to maintaining a secure broadcasting production environment, WGBH does not release the last names or hometowns of these children.”

Sholley said the network also monitors which Web sites attempt to link to theirs and “remove immediately links to sites we deem to be inappropriate.”

Police reports stated the home also contained two videotapes of children’s television programs.

According to the town’s residence listing, Selib is unmarried with no children.

Police also took more than 100 DVDs into evidence, noting “it is unknown at this time what, if anything, they contain.”

Meanwhile, Selib also allegedly had boxes for four handguns in his home — all purchased in the early 1980s — without possessing an active gun license. It was unclear from reports if the guns were in the house.

Jessica Scarpati of the Brookline (Mass.) TAB can be reached at jscarpat@cnc.com.