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Press Release

Wilmington Man Sentenced To 210 Months In Child Pornography Case

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

RALEIGH – United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced that in federal court today Chief United States District Judge James C. Dever, III, sentenced MICHAEL THOMAS BASSETT, JR., 33, of Portsmouth, Ohio, to 210 months imprisonment followed by 20 years supervised release. 

On November 25, 2013, a Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Indictment charging BASSETT.  On April 16, 2014, BASSETT pled guilty to receipt of child pornography, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 2252(a)(2).

According to the investigation, in March, 2013, law enforcement received a tip advising that an unknown individual had posted child pornography images on the social networking site known as Second Life.  A subpoena was issued for subscriber information and the accountholder identified as BASSETT, a registered sex offender from Wilmington, North Carolina.   The information was then relayed to the Federal Bureau of Investigation,  BASSETT’s estranged wife was contacted, who surrendered a laptop.  Forensic examination of the laptop revealed 250 images of child pornography and 105 videos of child pornography. 

On September 3, 2013, BASSETT was arrested and his computer and multiple media storage devices seized.  The computer and devices were examined and revealed a total of 8,950 images of child pornography.    

The criminal investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Ethan A. Ontjes is handling the prosecution on behalf of the Eastern District of North Carolina.

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

Updated July 14, 2015