News and Press Releases

Michael Joseph Difrancesco Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Missoula on January 20, 2009, before U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy, MICHAEL JOSEPH DIFRANCESCO, a 48-year-old resident of Bozeman, pled guilty to receipt of child pornography. Sentencing is set for March 20, 2009. He is currently detained.

In an Offer of Proof filed by the United States, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

U.S. Immigration and Enforcement (ICE) agents were investigating allegations of child pornography access by users utilizing the peer-to-peer file sharing network. One investigation involved an individual in Bozeman who had child pornography available to share via a file sharing program, beginning in April 2008 and continuing through July 2008. The computer IP address was tracked to the DIFRANCESCO residence in Bozeman.

On July 17, 2008, agents executed a search warrant on DIFRANCESCO'S residence. When questioned, DIFRANCESCO admitted that he used the peer-to-peer file sharing program Limewire and that he used the program to search for child pornography images. A subsequent forensic examination of his computer equipment revealed hundreds of images and movies of child pornography that DIFRANCESCO had received via the Internet during 2003 through 2008 and continued to possess until the service of the warrant. DIFRANCESCO possessed images and movies of children clearly prepubescent and children engaged in sadistic or masochistic abuse or other depictions of violence.

DIFRANCESCO faces possible penalties of a mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison and could be sentenced to the maximum of 20 years, a $250,000 fine, and lifetime supervision.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcia K. Hurd prosecuted the case for the United States.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation, the Helena Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.



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