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Press Release

Vermont Man Pleads Guilty to Child Sexual Offenses

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

            CONCORD – Acting United States Attorney John J. Farley announced that Joseph Norko, 50, of Saint Johnsbury, Vermont, pleaded guilty today to two counts of attempted online enticement and one count of interstate travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual activity.

            According to court documents and statements made in court, Norko’s charges were based on two online undercover investigations. One investigation was conducted by the Portsmouth Police Department and one was conducted by the Lebanon Police Department. In July of 2017, the defendant responded to an online advertisement posted by a Portsmouth police officer purporting to offer sex with a 12-year-old girl. In September of 2017, he responded to an online advertisement posted by a Lebanon police officer purporting to be a 15-year-old girl. The defendant then traveled from Vermont to New Hampshire in order to engage in sexual contact with the person he thought was 15 years old. 

            A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for June 1, 2018.

            “The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to protect the children of the Granite State,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Farley.  “This case is yet another example of the dangers that lurk on the Internet.  I am grateful to the law enforcement officers whose work led to the conviction of this Internet predator.”

            “Online exploitation of children is one of the most disturbing crimes we investigate. It’s always very satisfying when our close coordination with our federal and state partners successfully brings the predators who engage in this behavior to justice,” said Michael Shea, Acting Special Agent in Charge, for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations in Boston.

            This case was investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Lebanon Police Department, the Portsmouth Police Department, and the New Hampshire Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which includes members of several other police departments.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Georgiana Konesky.

            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 to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit



Updated February 22, 2018

Project Safe Childhood
Press Release Number: 18-042