Natick Man Charged with Child Pornography Offenses
BOSTON – A Natick man was arrested and charged today in federal court in Boston with distribution and possession of child pornography.
Francis Castellino, 19, was charged with one count of distribution of child pornography, and one count of possession of child pornography. Castellino remains in custody, after agreeing to voluntary detention during an appearance before Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler.
According to court records, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Castellino’s Natick home as part of an ongoing investigation into the online trade of child pornography through the use of Kik messenger. During the search, Castellino admitted to acting as a moderator of a Kik chat group dedicated to trading images and videos of child pornography with other Kik users. Preliminary on-scene forensic analysis of Castellino’s cell phone confirmed his admissions.
The charge of distribution of child pornography provides 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 no greater than 10 years in prison. Both charges also provide for a mandatory minimum of five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of up to $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 Michael Shea, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anne Paruti and Sandra S. Bower, of Lelling’s Major Crimes Unit, are 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/.