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LAFAYETTE, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that a Lafayette man was sentenced to 240 months in prison for distributing child pornography to a 16-year-old.
Thomas Dessoye, 54, of Lafayette, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote on one count of distribution of child pornography. He was also sentenced to serve 10 years of supervised release and ordered to pay $5,095 in restitution. According to evidence presented at the March 11, 2015 guilty plea, Dessoye began communicating via the internet with a 16-year-old who lived in Minnesota. On October 20, 2012, Dessoye sent the 16-year-old a link to Dessoye’s Dropbox account. Dropbox is an internet site that allows account holders to store images and videos as well as other digital files. The Dropbox account holder can send others a link so they can view material the account holder has stored on the Dropbox account. When Dessoye shared his Dropbox account with the 16-year-old, Dessoye had uploaded videos of child pornography to the Dropbox account. These videos depicted children engaging in sex acts with other children as well as videos depicting adults engaging in sexual acts with children.
According to an affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, after distributing child pornography to the 16-year-old, Dessoye traveled from Louisiana to Minnesota without the knowledge or consent of the minor’s parents. He picked up the 16-year-old and transported him back to Louisiana. Shortly after that, the parents of the 16-year-old reported their child missing. The Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office in Minnesota working with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office used information provided by a cell phone provider to locate the missing child at Dessoye’s residence in Lafayette. The child was then returned to the parents.
“Combating abuse of children is a top priority of this office,” Finley stated. “My office, along with our law enforcement partners, will use every tool available to prosecute these cases to the fullest extent of the law and put child predators behind bars. Our goal is to keep children safe.”
The FBI, Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office, and the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office of Elk River, Minn., investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert C. Abendroth prosecuted the case.
This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a U.S. Department of Justice nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
Those concerned may also leave tips with the FBI at tips.fbi.gov. Tips may be submitted anonymously. The Lafayette FBI office number is (337) 232-2164.