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Press Release

Spencer Man Pleads Guilty to Child Pornography Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – A Spencer man pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Worcester to possessing child sexual abuse material (CSAM).

Joseph Michael Smith, 60, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography before U.S. District Court Judge Mark G. Mastroianni who scheduled sentencing for March 6, 2023. Smith was arrested and charged in November 2021 and subsequently indicted by a federal grand jury in March 2022.

Investigators received several tips that CSAM was shared from messenger accounts tied to Smith’s address. During a search of Smith’s residence on Nov. 10, 2021, a USB drive was seized, and a forensic analysis revealed 35 videos depicting children as young as two-years-old being sexually abused, as well as over 300 images on child sexual exploitation that had downloaded to, and deleted from, the USB drive.

The charge of possession of child pornography provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, at least 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 statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Matthew B. Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New England; and Spencer Police Chief David Darrin made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristen Noto of Rollins’ Worcester Branch Office is prosecuting 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

Updated November 30, 2022

Project Safe Childhood