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Date: 01-27-2023

Case Style:

United States of America v. Justin Michael Peterson

Case Number:


Court: United States District Court for the District of Maryland (Baltimore County)

Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office in Baltimore

Defendant's Attorney:

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Description: Baltimore, Maryland criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant charged with production and distribution of images and videos depicting the sexual abuse of children.

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Justin Michael Peterson, 28, pleaded guilty one count of sexual exploitation of a child and one count of distribution of child pornography on Aug. 30, 2022.

In January 2020, Peterson used Instagram to video chat with a minor victim and entice the minor victim to masturbate and insert objects into the victim’s anus while Peterson masturbated. Peterson used special software to record those chats and distributed the recordings to another minor child with whom Peterson had been exchanging sexually explicit messages on Kik and Snapchat. During his chats with the second minor child, Peterson discussed his interest in traveling to the minor victim’s home to kidnap them.

After his arrest in February 2020, Peterson admitted to law enforcement that he is sexually attracted to children as young as three years old. Peterson’s phone contained hundreds of images depicting the sexual abuse of children, including toddlers and infants. Forensic examination of Peterson’s phone also revealed that he actively participated in several online chat groups dedicated to the sexual exploitation of children and distributing child sexual abuse material. Peterson also posted messages to these groups offering to “rent” one of the minor victims as a “cam slave.”

Peterson was previously convicted in Maryland in 2016 for distributing child pornography and was required to register as a sex offender at the time of his offenses.

In addition to serving 35 years in prison, Peterson was sentenced to 30 years of supervised release years and will be required to register as a sex offender in the place where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron for the District of Maryland, and Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division made the announcement.

The FBI, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, and the Boone, North Carolina, Police Department investigated the case.

Trial Attorney Eduardo Palomo of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul E. Budlow for the District of Maryland prosecuted the case.

Outcome: Defendant was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

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