Spencer man arrested in child pornography charges

Crime
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BOSTON (USDOJ) – A Spencer man was arrested and charged on Wednesday in federal court in Worcester for possession of child pornography.   

Joseph Michael Smith, 59, was charged with one count of possession of child pornography. A detention hearing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. today before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge David H. Hennessey.

According to the charging documents, a search of Smith’s residence revealed 35 videos depicting child pornography on Smith’s laptop. Smith also admitted ownership of three email addresses associated with usernames that uploaded child pornography to Kik Messenger groups between Oct. 7, 2020 and May 29, 2021.

The charge of possession of child pornography carries provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, at least five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Matthew B. Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; and Spencer Police Chief David Darrin made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle L. Dineen Jerrett of Mendell’s Worcester Branch Office is prosecuting the case. 

Members of the public who have questions, concerns or information regarding this case should call 617-748-3274.

The case is brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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