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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

DA Rollins: Child Sexual Assault Defendant Allegedly Used Smartphone App to Share Child Pornography

DA Rollins: Child Sexual Assault Defendant Allegedly Used Smartphone App to Share Child Pornography

BOSTON, March 20, 2019 — Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins today announced the indictment of an East Boston man for sexually assaulting one child, enticing another to create child pornography for him, and transmitting dozens of graphic sexual images of minors through a smartphone application.

A Suffolk County grand jury yesterday returned indictments charging DOMENIC D’AMORE, 29, of East Boston with:
·         three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14,
·         four counts of trafficking in persons for sexual servitude,
·         four counts of dissemination of matter harmful to a minor,
·         three counts of posing a child in a state of nudity,
·         eight counts of dissemination of child pornography,
·         two counts of possession of child pornography, and
·         two counts of possession with intent to distribute child pornography.
D’Amore was arraigned in January in Chelsea District Court in connection with the case.  Yesterday’s indictments move the case to Suffolk Superior Court, where it will be adjudicated.

“These charges are disturbing and represent some of the worst crimes against children,” District Attorney Rollins said.  “Survivors who have been exploited through child pornography may never be fully able to put these offenses in the past, because the images of their abuse live on.  They bear the pain of knowing that individuals across the globe – and possibly even in their own community – are viewing photos and videos of the most painful and degrading moments of their lives.”

The charges stem from an investigation that began in December when workers at a Revere pawn shop notified Revere Police that they found images depicting child pornography on a phone that the defendant sold at the business.  A forensic examination of that phone and a second phone belonging to the defendant revealed hundreds of graphic images and videos of children being sexually abused or posed in a sexual manner.   Prosecutors said that the defendant had shared and received similar graphic images through the Kik app on multiple occasions, including a single day in November during which he allegedly shared at least 75 files containing child pornography.  Detectives also became aware that an email service provider filed two CyberTips with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that each report separate instances of images identified as child pornography being uploaded to an email account.  Police determined that the email account belonged to the defendant. 

In messages sent on Kik, the defendant allegedly made statements that he had sexually abused a young child who was known to him.  The child underwent a forensic interview at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Suffolk County and disclosed abuse by the defendant.

He is also charged with trafficking in persons for sexual servitude for allegedly enticing a teenage victim to create child pornography.  In a text exchange discovered on a second phone belonging to the defendant, he allegedly made statements offering to pay the victim in return for sexual images and acts and instructed the teen to pose nude in photos.  In addition to receiving those photographs from the victim, the defendant is also accused of sending sexual images to the child.

“Allegations like these are incredibly difficult for many adults to fathom, but in order to protect the children in our lives, we have to talk about and acknowledge the potential risks that exist online,” District Attorney Rollins said.  “It’s vital that parents and guardians have open discussions with their children about ways they can stay safe, both online and off.  Above all, children need to know that they can talk to caring adults in their lives about anything that makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe and that they won’t get in trouble for what they say. As the parent of a teenager, I know these conversations are difficult and awkward, but our children’s safety, physical, and mental health depend on it.”

While the victims and witnesses of any crime should call 911 in an emergency, there are additional resources available to report suspected crimes against children.  In Suffolk County, survivors of child abuse and exploitation and their non-offending caretakers can receive comprehensive services at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Suffolk County.  The CAC can be reached at 617-779-2146.  Anyone who believes that a child in Massachusetts may be the victim of abuse can call the Department of Children and Families’ Child at Risk Hotline at 1-800-792-5200.  Those concerned that a child is being exploited online may report a Cybertip to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST or www.cybertipline.com. Finally, if parents want help navigating online risks and how to discuss them with children and teens, District Attorney Rollins offers the Stop Block and Talk internet safety training program for caregivers and professionals.  Information on the program and helpful resources can be found at http://www.suffolkdistrictattorney.com/stop-block-and-talk.

Assistant District Attorney Allyson Portney of Rollins’ Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Unit led the grand jury investigation resulting in today’s indictments.  Catherine McGuane is the DA’s assigned victim witness advocate.  Arraignment in the Magistrate’s Session of Suffolk Superior Court is expected at a later date.

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