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Press Release

Barnstable Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Production and Possession of Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
Defendant ordered to remain on supervised release for life upon completion of his sentence

BOSTON – A Barnstable man was sentenced today in federal court in Boston for sexually exploiting two minor girls who were approximately four years old.

Atticus J. Bernard, 22, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani to 20 years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release. The government recommended a sentence of 30 years in prison. In November 2022, Bernard pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual exploitation of children and one count of possession of child pornography

“Mr. Bernard’s vile and criminal behavior is a parent’s worst nightmare. He preyed upon, harmed and exploited two defenseless toddlers known to him. These innocent victims were under the age of five years old. That he documented the abuse for this own gross personal gratification is even more disgusting. Predators like Mr. Bernard who seek to sexualize and harm our children are a danger to society. While nothing can stop the pain he has caused, today’s sentence ensures that Mr. Bernard will be removed from our communities and unable to victimize, traumatize or harm any other children for many, many years,” said United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins. “Child exploitation cases are among the most difficult and most important matters we prosecute. These defenseless victims deserve justice and accountability. Today’s sentence is a step closer to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all of our children.”
 
“Bernard’s exploitation of two children was a heinous and irrevocable act. We hope that today’s sentence brings a measure of justice to these families as they heal and move forward,” said Matthew B. Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New England. “Homeland Security Investigations remains dedicated to the protection of children through our work with our partners to detect and apprehend predators like Bernard.”

On separate occasions in approximately November 2019 and approximately October 2020, Bernard sexually exploited two minor girls under the age of five-years-old and who were known to him. Bernard documented the abuse and exploitation and possessed the child sexual abuse material on his cell phone. A search of Bernard’s phone in January 2021 revealed numerous photos of Bernard exploiting the minor victims. 

Bernard admitted that he had assaulted approximately five girls and recorded the assaults and that each victim was assaulted four or five times.  

U.S. Attorney Rollins; HSI SAC Millhollin; Andrew Murphy, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service, Boston Field Office; and Barnstable Police Chief Matthew Sonnabend made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney David G. Tobin of Rollins’ Major Crimes Unit prosecuted the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. 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 https://www.justice.gov/psc.

Updated March 16, 2023

Topic
Project Safe Childhood