Ex-Jaguars employee who hacked into scoreboard sentenced to 220 years in jail for child sex abuse material

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A former Jacksonville Jaguars employee was sentenced to 220 years in prison for producing child sexual abuse material and hacking the jumbotron at the team’s stadium.

The team hired Samuel Thompson, of St. Augustine, in 2013 as a contractor to consult on the design and installation of their new video board network and later to operate the jumbotron on gamedays, investigators said. 

However, after learning in 2018 that he was a registered sex offender and had a prior conviction, they did not renew his contract. According to court records, Thompson was convicted of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy in Alabama in 1998.


TIAA Bank Field

A general view of the Jacksonville Jaguars statue in front TIAA Bank Field prior to the AFC Wild Card Playoffs game against the Los Angeles Chargers at TIAA Bank Field on Jan. 14, 2023 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

Thompson is said to have installed remote access software on a spare server in the Jaguars’ server room before his employment ended in March 2018. He was then able to access the computers that controlled the jumobtron during three games in the following season, causing the video boards to malfunction repeatedly.

The Jaguars eventually found the spare server, removed its access to the jumbotron, and was able to collect network information, which the FBI traced to Thompson’s home, prosecutors said.

Jacksonville Jaguars helmets

Jacksonville Jaguars helmets are seen before a press conference introducing Doug Pederson as the new head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Stadium on Feb. 5, 2022 in Jacksonville, Florida. (James Gilbert/Getty Images)


The FBI executed a search warrant at Thompson’s residence in July 2019 and seized a phone, a tablet and two laptops, which all had been used to access the spare jumbotron server, according to log files. Agents also said they seized a firearm, which Thompson was prohibited from owning as a convicted felon.

However, during that raid, the FBI also found thousands of images and hundreds of videos of child sexual abuse on the devices. The files included videos and images that Thompson had produced a month before the raid on his home that depicted children that had been in his care and custody, investigators said.

This comes amid another former employee being sentenced to six years in jail after stealing over $20 million from the team through the company’s credit card program to fund a lavish lifestyle that included online gambling, chartering private jets, the purchase of a private condominium, sports memorabilia, cars, spa treatments and other personal purchases. 

Jaguars helmet

A Jacksonville Jaguars helmet is seen during an offseason workout on May 30, 2023 at TIAA Bank field in Jacksonville, Florida. (James Gilbert/Getty Images)


Thompson was convicted last year of producing, receiving, and possessing child sex abuse material, producing it while required to register as a sex offender, violating the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, sending unauthorized damaging commands to a protected computer, and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.

Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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