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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Cambridge Man Sentenced for Receipt and Possession of Child Pornography

BOSTON – A Cambridge man was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Boston for child pornography offenses.

Robert Wharton, 31, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Dennis Saylor IV to five years in prison and five years of supervised release. In December 2020, Wharton pleaded guilty to one count of receiving child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography.

Federal investigators developed evidence that a user of the Kik messaging application had electronically transmitted funds to another individual in exchange for access to internet links containing child pornography. The investigation revealed that those funds originated from Wharton and that Wharton resided in an apartment in Cambridge. During a search of Wharton’s apartment, Kik messages that Wharton had exchanged with the person to whom he had sent funds were discovered. In addition, various images and videos depicting naked children were found on Wharton’s phone, including a pornographic video that Wharton had received via the Telegram messaging application; this video depicts a young child performing oral sex on an adult.

Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Boston Field Division made the announcement. Valuable assistance was provided by the Cambridge, Arlington, Newton and Revere Police Departments and the Massachusetts Department of Correction. Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Abely, Chief of Mendell’s 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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
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Updated May 11, 2021