FBI agent visits Central


FBI Special Agent Patrick Geahry visited Hinsdale Central on Sept. 14 in honor of Constitution Day. Geahry is a member of the FBI’s cybercrimes division, and came to speak to students about their first amendment rights.

While the first amendment guarantees free speech, it doesn’t mean you can say anything you want. “The government can restrict free speech in on and off campus school situations,” Geahry said, while citing examples of court cases dealing with students’ free speech. He also warned that what you put online stays online. “It used to be that you would say something stupid and everyone would forget about it,” Geary said.  “Now you say something stupid online and it’s there forever. Kids are impulsive, sometimes they don’t think about what they’re saying.”

Geahry’s position is in the cybercrimes division of the FBI, which he says deals with things like Internet fraud and extortion, crimes against children, and computer hackers and spammers. He mostly deals with crimes against children, including child molestation and child pornography.

When asked about the weirdest thing that has happened to him on the job during his presentation, Geahry an anecdote of a keg party with a group of pedophiles. “We went to infiltrate their child pornography ring at one of their get-togethers and we brought a keg of non-alcoholic beer,” he said. After, he was able to arrest the offenders.

Geahry started as a FBI agent after working a few years and finding no satisfaction. He realized his computer skills would be better utilized in the FBI, and to become an agent he had to go through a rigorous application process, which included a multiple choice test, an interview, a physical fitness test, a psychological test, a lie detector test, and a written test dealing with hypothetical situations an agent could encounter.

“You have to be a good decision maker; sometimes you only have a split second to make a decision when you’re trying to catch a criminal,” Geahry said. After he was accepted, Geahry spent time at Quantico, where the FBI trains its new agents. At present, he’s served in the FBI for seven years. “The best part of the job for me is knowing you’re doing something,” he said. “When you put someone in jail, you know they’re not going to hurt anyone anymore because of you. You also get free guns.”