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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of North Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Federal Jury Convicts Hickory Man Of Sexual Exploitation Of A Minor And Possession Of Child Pornography

STATESVILLE, N.C. – A federal jury in Statesville has convicted Vincent Deritis, 33, of Hickory, N.C., of sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of child pornography, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

Ronnie Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in North Carolina and South Carolina, and Chief Thurman Whisnant of the Hickory Police Department join U.S. Attorney King in making today’s announcement.

According to filed court documents, trial evidence and witness testimony, between October 29, 2018, and March 17, 2019, Deritis secretly recorded a minor while the minor was exiting the shower. On April 3, 2019, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Deritis’s residence. A forensic analysis of electronic devices seized from Deritis’s home as well as his cloud storage account revealed that the defendant possessed images and videos that depicted the minor naked while exiting the shower, photos depicting the minor’s genitalia, and thousands of images of child pornography Deritis had downloaded from the internet. The jury convicted Deritis of three counts of production of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.

Deritis is currently in federal custody. A sentencing date has not been set. Each count of production of child pornography charge carries a minimum statutory sentence of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The charge of possession of child pornography carries a statutory penalty of no more than 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney King commended HSI and the Hickory Police Department for their investigation of the case.

Assistant United States Attorneys Cortney Randall and Nick J. Miller, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, are prosecuting the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. 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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated June 22, 2022