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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 26, 2019

Westfield Man Pleads Guilty to Child Pornography Offenses

BOSTON – A Westfield man pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Springfield to child pornography charges.

Stephen Cote, 48, pleaded guilty to three counts of receipt of child pornography, one count of distribution of child pornography and one count of offering to receive child pornography. U.S. District Court Judge Mark G. Mastroianni scheduled sentencing for Dec. 18, 2019. Cote was indicted in January 2016, and he has been detained since his arrest on July 20, 2018. 

On various occasions between April 30, 2013, and May 31, 2015, Cote sent and received child pornography by text and email, and also offered to receive child pornography. Cote exchanged child pornography with Bruce Singer, who was sentenced on July 19, 2019, to 96 months in prison for various child pornography offenses. During the course of Cote and Singer’s electronic communications, they discussed their shared interest in the sexual abuse of children.

The charges of receipt and distribution of child pornography each provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of seeking and offering to receive child pornography provides for a sentence of no greater than 30 years in prison, a lifetime of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. According to the terms of the plea agreement, the Government will recommend a sentence of 15 years in prison. 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; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Northampton Police Chief Jody Kasper; and Easthampton Police Chief Robert Alberti made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex J. Grant of Lelling’s Springfield 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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Updated September 26, 2019