Avon Man Charged with Child Exploitation Offenses
Leonard C Boyle, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and David Sundberg, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, today announced that MICHAEL FERRO, 35, of Avon, has been charged by federal criminal complaint with multiple child exploitation offenses.
Ferro surrendered to law enforcement yesterday. He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas O. Farrish in Hartford and was released on a $100,000 bond.
As alleged in the complaint, on August 18, 2021, Ferro, using the Kik social media application, began chatting in a Kik group with an FBI Online Covert Employee (“OCE”) who was posing as a father of a 12-year-old girl. After Ferro determined that the OCE was engaging in sexual activity with his “daughter,” he sent the OCE a “live photo” depicting the genitals of a child. Ferro then stated that he had more pictures to share, and expressed an interest in meeting the OCE’s daughter to engage in sexual activity. After confirming Ferro’s identity, investigators traveled to Ferro’s residence late in the evening of August 18, informed him of the investigation, and seized his cell phone.
The complaint charges Ferro with sexual exploitation of children, which carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 15 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years; attempted receipt of child pornography, which carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years; and attempted enticement of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity, which carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of life.
Acting U.S. Attorney Boyle stressed that a criminal complaint is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the assistance of the Avon Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nancy V. Gifford.
This prosecution is part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood Initiative, which is aimed at protecting children from sexual abuse and exploitation. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.
To report cases of child exploitation, please visit www.cybertipline.com.