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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 4, 2020

Amesbury Man Previously Charged with Child Pornography Offenses Re-Arrested for Violating Conditions of Release

Defendant allegedly discussed sexually abusing an infant

BOSTON – An Amesbury man who was previously charged with child pornography offenses was re-arrested today after allegedly violating his conditions of pretrial release.

Thomas Cross, 30, was arrested today for violating the conditions of his pretrial release by possessing devices with internet accessibility. Cross was ordered detained following a detention hearing in federal court in Boston this afternoon.

Cross was initially detained by a Magistrate Judge following his arrest on Nov. 15, 2018, on charges of possession, receipt, and distribution of child pornography. Cross appealed the order of pretrial detention to the District Court, who released Cross on July 17, 2019 on conditions which, among other things, prohibited him from accessing the internet, possessing pornographic material, and possessing internet-accessible devices.

Today, during a search at Cross’s home based on a CyberTip regarding the potential use of social media to exchange child pornography, Cross was found to be in possession of multiple cell phones and an internet-connected gaming console. The search of those devices is ongoing.

According to the charging documents, Cross’s pending charges stem from the Nov. 15, 2018 search of Cross’s home that resulted in the seizure of several electronic devices, which contained files depicting child pornography and chats between Cross and a person he identified as Desiree Daigle, in which they exchange various child pornography files. Some of the images depict an infant known to Daigle, allegedly taken in Daigle’s home. It is alleged that in the course of the chat, the two discussed plans for Cross to meet the child in person so that they could sexually abuse the child together. Both Cross and Daigle admitted to exchanging child pornography with each other. Daigle, who is in custody, has been separately charged with the sexual exploitation of children, and her case remains pending. 

The charges of distribution and receipt of child pornography each provide for a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and up to 20 years in prison. The charge of possession of child pornography provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. All of the charges provide for a minimum of five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. Assistance was provided by the Amesbury Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Anne Paruti, Lelling’s Project Safe Childhood Coordinator and a member of the Major Crimes Unit, is prosecuting the case.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Updated June 4, 2020