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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Former Youth Football Coach Charged with Sexual Exploitation of Children

Defendant allegedly had hidden cameras in his home and recorded hours of video footage depicting his sexual abuse of a child

BOSTON – A Norwell man was charged today in federal court in Boston with sexual exploitation of children. The defendant previously coached Norwell youth football.

Derek Sheehan, 48, was charged with three counts of sexual exploitation of children. He is currently in state custody on related charges pending in the Hingham District Court, which include three counts of aggravated rape of a child. Sheehan will appear in federal court at a later date. According to court documents, Sheehan is also charged - in connection with another victim - in Hingham District Court with one count of assault and battery on a child under 14.

It is alleged that on Aug. 17, 2018, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Sheehan’s home and seized several electronic devices that revealed evidence of child pornography. A forensic review of one of those devices has so far resulted in the discovery of hours of video footage of Sheehan, on multiple dates, sexually abusing a child who appeared to be asleep at Sheehan’s home. At the time of the assaults, the child was 11-and-12-years-old.

Given the number of devices seized, the high storage capacity of many of the devices, and the fact that some devices appear to be encrypted, the investigation and forensic review is ongoing.

Members of the public who have questions, concerns, or information about this case should contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office at 617-748-3274. Anyone with questions about how to talk to their child about sexual abuse should visit the Plymouth County Child Advocacy Center website at https://cac.plymouthda.com/.

The charge of sexual exploitation of children provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and up to 30 years in prison, 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 on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz; Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; and Norwell Police Chief Theodore Ross made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Anne Paruti, Lelling’s Project Safe Childhood coordinator and a member of Lelling’s Major Crimes Unit, is prosecuting the case.

The case is 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 defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Updated September 19, 2018