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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of New York

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Two Cortland County Residents Arrested on Child Exploitation Charges

Christopher M. Perry and Sarah R. Gates Accused of Sexually Exploiting A Child

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Christopher M. Perry, age 35, and Sarah R. Gates, age 38, of Cortland, New York, were charged today with sexual exploitation of a child, announced United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Kevin M. Kelly, Special Agent in Charge of the Buffalo Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

A federal criminal complaint filed today charges that beginning in 2017, Perry and Gates engaged in sexually explicit conduct with a child who was born in 2014, for the purpose of producing visual depictions of that conduct.  The charge filed against Perry and Gates carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years, a maximum sentence of up to 30 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, a term of supervised release of at least 5 years and up to life, and registration as a sex offender.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors.

The charges in the complaint are merely accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. 

The defendants appeared today before United States Magistrate Judge Andrew T. Baxter in Syracuse, New York, who ordered that they be detained in federal custody pending resolution of their cases. 

The investigation is ongoing, and the City of Cortland Police Department requests anyone who may have information to call 607-758-8303.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the City of Cortland Police Department, and the New York State Police-Computer Crimes Unit are conducting the investigation.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sahar L. Amandolare, as a part of Project Safe Childhood. Launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, Project Safe Childhood is led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS). 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 to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit


Project Safe Childhood
Updated April 11, 2019