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BOSTON, MA - A Swansea man was convicted yesterday in federal court of sexual exploitation of a child and the transportation and possession of child pornography.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Warren T. Bamford, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Chief George Arruda of Swansea Police Department; Chief Bart King of Norwood Police Department; and Bristol County District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter announced today that JOSEPH MICHAEL SILVA, 34, of Swansea, MA, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton to Sexual Exploitation of a Child, Transportation of Child Pornography and Possession of Child Pornography .

At the plea hearing, the prosecutor told the Court that had the case proceeded to trial the Government’s evidence would have proven that in the summer of 2003, SILVA, while working as a horseback riding instructor in Lakeville, Massachusetts, persuaded one of his 15-year-old students to be photographed in various sexually explicit poses. SILVA convinced the victim that he loved her and that this type of photography was what “normal adult” couples do. He took one series of photographs in a tack room located on the property of Haskins Farm, and instructed the victim to take a second series of photographs in his horse trailer using his digital camera. After the photographs were taken, SILVA went on-line, posing as a 15-year-old girl, and sent some of the photographs to a 15-year-old boy. After receiving the photographs and recognizing the riding student, the 15-year-old boy contacted her and told her he had received the photographs. A search warrant was executed at SILVA’s home in 2007, where numerous computers, hard drives and cameras were seized from the defendant’s bedroom, truck, place of business and storage locker. Sexually explicit photographs, internet chats and several other images of child pornography were recovered from the forensic examination of the seized items.

Judge Gorton scheduled sentencing for Tuesday, June 29, 2010 at 2:30 p.m. SILVA faces up to 30 years imprisonment for sexual exploitation of a child, up to 20 years imprisonment for transportation of child pornography, and up to10 years for possession of child pornography. He is also facing a life term of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine for each charge.

The case was investigated by the Swansea Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Norwood Police Department and Bristol County District Attorney’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Cummings of Ortiz’s Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force and Assistant U.S. Attorney Maxim Grinberg of Ortiz’s Major Crime Unit.


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