Randolph Man Pleads Guilty to Child Exploitation Charges
BOSTON – A Randolph man pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston to child exploitation charges.
Michael Lee, 52, pleaded guilty to one count of sexual exploitation of children and one count each of distribution, receipt, and possession of child pornography. U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani scheduled sentencing for Aug. 28, 2019. In December 2017, Lee was arrested and charged in a criminal complaint and has been in federal custody since. He was indicted in April 2018.
A search warrant at Lee’s Randolph home was conducted as part of an investigation into the online trade of child pornography through the use of Kik, an instant messaging app. During an interview with federal agents, Lee admitted to trading images and videos of child pornography with other Kik users, including a New Hampshire man who provided Lee with images and videos documenting the sexual abuse of the man’s eight-year-old daughter at Lee’s direction. Forensic analysis of Lee’s cell phone and Kik account corroborated his admissions and showed that he had created videos of himself in which he directed the child’s father how to sexually abuse her, and had received videos in return that showed the man abusing her. Forensic review of the evidence also showed that Lee had been trading child pornography with other Kik users.
The charge of sexual exploitation of children provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and up to 30 years in prison. The charge of possession of child pornography provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison. The charges of distribution and receipt of child pornography provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and up to 20 years in prison. All four charges provide for a 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 Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. 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 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/.