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Press Release

Taunton Man Pleads Guilty to Child Exploitation

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
Defendant sexually abused a toddler in his care

BOSTON – A Taunton man pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston to sexual exploitation of children and distribution of child sexual abuse material (CSAM).

Cody Mercure, 25, pleaded guilty to one count of sexual exploitation of children and one count of distribution of child pornography. U.S. District Court Judge Leo T. Sorokin scheduled sentencing for April 25, 2023. Mercure was indicted by a federal grand jury in September 2021. 

On Feb. 19, 2021, Mercure sexually abused a toddler in his care and video-recorded the abuse.  Mercure also distributed numerous files of CSAM over the internet using a messaging application. For example, on Jan. 16, 2021, Mercure distributed CSAM depicting the sexual abuse of a prepubescent child to another user of the messaging application. Over 100 images and videos depicting child pornography were stored on one of the phones seized at the time of Mercure’s arrest.

The charge of sexual exploitation of children provides a sentence of at least 15 years and up to 30 years in prison, at least five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of distribution of child pornography provides for a sentence of at least five years and 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 and Matthew B. Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New England made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was also provided by the Rhode Island State Police and the Taunton Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Elianna J. Nuzum of Rollins’ Major Crimes Unit 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 https://www.justice.gov/psc.

Updated January 24, 2023

Topics
Project Safe Childhood