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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 14, 2017

Taunton Man Pleads Guilty to Multiple Child Enticement and Child Pornography Charges

BOSTON - A Taunton man pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston to child exploitation and related offenses in connection with coercing seven minors to send sexually explicit images.

 

Joseph Debrum, 40, pleaded guilty to seven counts of coercion and enticement of a minor, six counts of sexual exploitation of children and two counts of distribution of child pornography. U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton scheduled sentencing for July 18, 2017.

 

Between May 2014 and March 2015, Debrum assumed fictitious online identities of either a 21-year-old woman or a 16-year-old woman to coerce and entice seven minor victims living in six states to engage in sexually explicit conduct. Debrum enticed the victims to send him pictures of the conduct over the internet, or he viewed the acts live online while taking photos on his cell phone. Debrum coerced the victims, whose ages ranged from 14 to 16-years-old, including threatening to expose the photos. Debrum also disseminated some of the photos, which constitutes distribution of child pornography. He sent photos of one victim to that victim’s parent, as well as photos of a second victim to a third victim. On April 2, 2015, Debrum was interviewed by law enforcement and admitted to assuming fictitious female identities while communicating online with the victims. He also admitted to asking them to take nude pictures and, in some cases, to do specific sexual acts.

 

Each charge of sexual exploitation provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and no greater than 30 years in prison, a mandatory minimum of five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charges of coercion and enticement of a minor provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and no greater than a lifetime in prison, a mandatory minimum of five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charges of distribution of child pornography provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and no greater than 20 years in prison, a mandatory minimum of five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the United States Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

 

United States Attorney William D. Weinreb and Matthew Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston made the announcement today. Assistance was provided by the Taunton Police Department and Loudon County, Va., Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Suzanne Sullivan Jacobus and Anne Paruti of Weinreb’s Major Crimes Unit are prosecuting the case.

 

The case was 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 better 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/.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Updated April 14, 2017