Christopher Ceolinski, 38, of Blackstone, Massachusetts pled guilty Tuesday before United States District Court J. Randal Hall for receiving child pornography and transferring obscene material to a person under the age of 16. Ceolinski faces a mandatory minimum of five years imprisonment and a maximum of thirty years on the two charges. He will be required to register as a sex offender, and will be subject to a term of supervised release of between five years and life. Following the guilty plea, Ceolinski was returned to the custody of the United States Marshal Service to await sentencing.
According to the evidence presented at Ceolinski's plea hearing, in July 2011, Ceolinski, initially posing as a 20-year-old, sent an unsolicited friend request to a 15-year-old girl in Lincolnton, Georgia, which was accepted. The two began regular communications, which quickly became sexual in nature. Beginning in August 2011, Ceolinski, who had admitted his true age of 36, allegedly sent obscene images of himself to the girl over the Internet and through messaging systems. Several months later, he also reportedly sent an iPod Touch to the girl so she could send sexually explicit images of herself to him, as he requested. Ultimately, Ceolinski traveled to Georgia to secretly meet with the girl. Some time later, the girl's mother became aware of the communications, and contacted law enforcement.
When Ceolinski was arrested in Massachusetts on a federal complaint filed in Augusta, his mobile phone was found to contain illegal images of the 15-year-old victim. Ceolinski admitted to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents the length and nature of his contact with the Lincolnton girl. Ceolinski was subsequently detained and transferred to Georgia to face the charges here.
United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver stated, "This Defendant used social networking sites to locate and prey on innocent children. This type of exploitation constitutes a serious and heinous crime that results in an immeasurable, long-lasting, impact on the child. There should be no doubt that the United States Attorney's Office will prosecute those who promote and facilitate these crimes, as there is no higher priority within the Department of Justice than to protect our Nation's children."
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a U.S. Department of Justice initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. 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.
The case was the result of an investigation conducted by the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nancy Greenwood prosecuted the case.
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