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Press Release

Former Resident of Canastota Pleads Guilty to Sexual Exploitation of a Child

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – John Flinn, age 26, formerly of Canastota, New York, pled guilty yesterday to one count of sexual exploitation of a child, announced Acting United States Attorney Antoinette T. Bacon, Special Agent in Charge Kevin Kelly, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Buffalo, New York, Special Agent in Charge Kevin D. Sibley, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Tampa, Florida, and New York State Police Superintendent Keith Corlett.

Sentencing is scheduled for March 16, 2021, at which time Flinn faces a minimum of 15 years and up to 30 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of at least 5 years and up to life.  Flinn also will be required to register as a sex offender.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the statute the defendant violated, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors.

As part of his guilty plea, Flinn admitted that he took sexually explicit images of an approximately six-year-old victim on three different occasions.  Flinn also admitted that he possessed other images of child pornography, including images of toddlers, and images depicting the sadistic and masochistic sexual abuse of children. 

This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (Syracuse, New York and Tampa, Florida), and the New York State Police, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael D. Gadarian.

This case is being prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.  Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims.  For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

Updated November 18, 2020

Project Safe Childhood