Long Island Man Sentenced to 28 Years' Imprisonment for Creating and Distributing Child Pornography
Defendant Operated a Chat Room for Adults Where He Instructed Them on How to Initiate and Carry Out Sexual Abuse
Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Central Islip, United States District Judge Joanna Seybert sentenced Christopher Bertsch to 28 years in prison for sexual exploitation of a child. As part of his sentence, Bertsch must register as a sex offender upon his release from prison and not have unsupervised contact with minors. Bertsch pleaded guilty to the charge in November 2020.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant-Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), announced the sentence.
“Today’s sentence removes a dangerous predator who not only abused minors and created videos of it but, horrifically, also operated a chat room where he instructed adults on how to abuse minors and to create and share images of it,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “The outstanding undercover work of the FBI made this prosecution possible. I urge parents and caregivers to encourage their children to tell a trusted adult if anyone asks them to engage in inappropriate behavior. Protecting children and holding those who harm vulnerable victims accountable for their actions are priorities of our Office.”
As set forth in the government’s sentencing memorandum and other court filings as well as on the record in court proceedings, Bertsch sexually abused an 18-month-old toddler, created child pornography with that victim and others, and generated a large collection of child pornography, including what he created and what he received from members of the chat room he operated. Bertsch’s child pornography trove included dozens of videos and hundreds of images of child pornography depicting the defendant engaged in sexual conduct with children. An analysis of his chat room activity revealed that Bertsch sent the images of himself abusing children to others.
In addition, in the chat room he operated, Bertsch instructed other adults on how to initiate and carry out sexual abuse of children, while recording it at the same time. Admission to Bertsch’s chat room required photographic proof of the applicant with a minor under their control. Bertsch shared photos of his sexual abuse of children and encouraged others to engage in such abuse and record it for his viewing.
This prosecution is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative led by the Department of Justice to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Long Island Criminal Division. Assistant United States Attorneys Charles P. Kelly and Madeline O’Connor are in charge of the prosecution.
Wantagh, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 20-CR-109 (JS)