Franklin Man Sentenced to 60 Months for Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material
CONCORD - Zachary Cote, 24, of Franklin, was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison for possession of child sexual abuse material, United States Attorney John J. Farley announced today.
According to court documents and statements made in court, on October 27, 2020, a federal search warrant was executed at a residence in Franklin where Cote was residing. The investigation stemmed from activity that occurred on a social media platform through an account that resolved back to Cote. Various electronic devices were seized during the search. Forensic review of the devices revealed the presence of over 2,500 images and over 300 videos depicting child sexual exploitation material.
During a consensual interview, Cote admitted viewing and possessing child sexual abuse material on his phone and trading the material with others online.
Cote previously pleaded guilty on September 20, 2021. Cote was ordered to pay $26,000 in restitution and will be under supervised release for eight years after the completion of his sentence.
“Protecting the innocence of children is one of the foremost obligations of law enforcement,” said U.S. Attorney Farley. “Those who possess and distribute graphic sexual images of children are drawing pleasure from horrific acts of child abuse and committing a serious federal crime. In our ongoing effort to protect young people from abuse, we will continue to work closely with the FBI and all of our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute crimes related to images of child sexual abuse.”
“Now more than ever, our children need to be protected from predators seeking to exploit their innocence. Today’s sentence helps us do that by keeping Zachary Cote behind bars for quite some time. By his own admission, Mr. Cote had four phones filled with thousands of explicit images and hundreds of videos depicting kids under the age of 12 being sexually abused,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division. “Sadly, his despicable actions revictimized the minors featured in these images and videos all over again. Investigating violent crimes against children is a top priority of ours at the FBI, and this case exemplifies how we will work with our law enforcement partners to ensure people like him are brought to justice.”
This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance by the Franklin Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kasey Weiland.
In February 2006, the Department of Justice introduced Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney’s 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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov.