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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Ellington Man Pleads Guilty to Producing Child Pornography

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that SIMON HESSLER, 47, formerly of Ellington, waived his right to be indicted and pleaded guilty today in Bridgeport federal court to one count of production of child pornography. 

According to court documents and statements made in court, between July 2016 and November 2018, Hessler engaged in sexually explicit conduct with a minor female, and he used a used a cellular phone to produce images of the sexual abuse.  The minor victim was under the age of 12 at the time of Hessler’s conduct.  Hessler kept dozens of these images on a USB drive.  Forensic analysis of the USB drive also revealed hundreds of other images and videos of suspected child pornography, including images depicting sadistic or masochistic conduct, and thousands of images of child erotica.

The charge of production of child pornography carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 15 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years.

Hessler is also facing charges in two state jurisdictions.  In the Hartford Judicial District, he is charged with commercial sex abuse of a minor under the age of 15, and attempt to commit sexual assault in the first degree.  In the Tolland Judicial District, he is charged with four counts of risk of injury to a minor, and sex assault in the fourth degree.  Under the terms of his federal plea agreement, Hessler will not argue for a sentence less than the statutory maximum of 30 years, to run concurrent with any sentence to be imposed in the state courts.

Hessler is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill on March 4, 2020.

Hessler has been detained in state custody since November 13, 2018.

This matter is being investigated by the Connecticut State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nancy V. Gifford.

U.S. Attorney Durham thanked the Hartford and Tolland State Attorney’s Offices for their cooperation in the investigation and prosecution of this case.

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
Component(s): 
Updated December 11, 2019