News and Press Releases


MONDAY - September 28, 2009


RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court on September 21, 2009, JOSEPH MICHAEL GUARASCIO, 45, of Wilmington, North Carolina, pled guilty to manufacturing child pornography before United States District Judge James C. Dever, III.

A Criminal Information was filed by the United States Attorney’s Office on August 27, 2009.

On October 21, 2008, a 14-year-old reported that GUARASCIO, a former New York police officer, had sexually assaulted the victim. Deputies arrested GUARASCIO, seizing his Iphone. Forensic analysis of the phone revealed sexually explicit photographs of another underage child. On October 30, 2008, a search warrant was obtained and executed on GUARASCIO’s residence. His computer was seized and analysis of the computer found over 3,000 images of child pornography, which portrays sadistic or masochistic conduct.

The maximum penalty for the charge is up to 30 years of imprisonment followed by up to a life term of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.

Mr. Holding commented, “Any case involving the exploitation of children is a tragedy. This case is particularly troubling in that it involves a former law enforcement officer.”

This case was part of the Project Safe Childhood initiative, a national program aimed at ensuring that criminals exploiting children are effectively prosecuted by making full use of all available law enforcement resources at every level. For more information about this important national project, Project Safe Childhood, go to

Investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, and the Wilmington Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Ethan Ontjes represented the government.

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