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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Connecticut

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 18, 2021

Bristol Man Charged with Attempting to Sex Traffic Minor, Distributing Child Pornography

John H. Durham, 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 ROBERT MARLIN SELLERS, 60, of Bristol, has been charged by federal criminal complaint with child exploitation offenses related to his attempt to engage in commercial sex with a minor.

Sellers appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert A. Richardson via videoconference.  He has been detained since his arrest on related state charges on February 4, 2021.

As alleged in court documents, law enforcement launched an investigation in late 2020 after receiving information that Sellers was sharing videos of child sex abuse on a website that is focused on incest.  In November 2020, an undercover FBI employee began interacting with Sellers on the social media application Kik.  In the chats, Sellers made statements that he had sexually abused children, and that he had trafficked a child to engage in commercial sex acts.  He also said that he had recently traveled out of state to have sex with another 12-year-old girl.  The undercover investigator told Sellers that he had a 12-year-old daughter (“Doe”).  After Sellers introduced the idea that Doe could be trafficked for sex, and offered suggestions to the undercover investigator about how it could be accomplished, Sellers arranged to have sex with Doe in exchange for $200.

It is further alleged that, in January 2021, Sellers sent the undercover investigator videos of child sex abuse that Sellers maintained on a file sharing website.

On February 4, 2021, Sellers was arrested at a hotel in Southington shortly after he provided the undercover investigator $200, as alleged, to engage in sex with Doe.

The complaint charges Sellers with one count of attempted commercial sex trafficking of a minor, which carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 15 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of life, and one count of distribution of child pornography, which carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.

U.S. Attorney Durham stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  Charges are only allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

U.S. Attorney Durham thanked the New Britain State’s Attorney’s Office for its cooperation in the investigation and prosecution of this case.

This matter is being investigated by the FBI New Haven Child Exploitation Task Force and the Southington Police Department.  The task force includes members from the Connecticut State Police and the Naugatuck, East Windsor, New London and Southington Police Departments.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarala V. Nagala.

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.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Human Trafficking
Component(s): 
Updated February 18, 2021