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Press Release

Former Army Soldier Sentenced to 10 Years in Child Pornography Case

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. – A United States Army soldier was sentenced today to 120 months in prison and five years of supervised release for Possession of Child Pornography.  On September 30, 2021, Nicolas Antonio McElrath, 24, pled guilty to the charges.

According to court documents and other information presented in court, in September 2020, Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) officers received a cybertip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).  NCMEC flagged a file for potentially containing child pornography that had been uploaded via a social media site and forwarded the information to law enforcement.  The user of the particular social media account was tracked back to McElrath. 

On November 10, 2020, a search warrant was obtained and executed for McElrath’s digital devices.  A cellular device was seized from McElrath’s person and other older cellular devices were seized from his residence. McElrath was interviewed after being advised of his Miranda rights and admitted to being in possession of child pornography.  He further admitted having a sexual interest in children.

McElrath’s digital devices were forensically analyzed, and agents found multiple photos and videos that depicted child sexual abuse material.  In addition, agents found photos that depicted McElrath sexual abusing a child. 

Michael F. Easley, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after the sentencing by U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle.  Army CID investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Charity Wilson  prosecuted the case.

Related court documents and information can be found on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 21-CR-00283-BO.

Updated December 9, 2021

Project Safe Childhood