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Date: 12-02-2022

Case Style:

United States of America v. Joshua Padilla

Case Number: 2:19-cr-00399

Judge: Eduardo E. Robreno

Court: United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia County)

Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office

Defendant's Attorney:

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Description: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania criminal law lawyer represented Defendant charged with child exploitation.

MoreLaw Legal News For Philadelphia

In December 2021, the Joshua Padilla, age 37, of Eaton, New Jersey, pleaded guilty to one count each of producing, distributing, and possessing child pornography, charges which stemmed from an investigation into the defendant’s illicit sexual contact with a teenage girl. Padilla, who at the time of the charged conduct was a Middlesex County New Jersey Sheriff’s Deputy, recorded himself having unlawful sexual contact with a 17-year-old girl and later uploaded some of that video to an online social media platform. The defendant drove the minor to Northampton County, Pennsylvania to engage in this illicit sexual conduct.

“While child exploitation cases are always horrendous, the conduct in this case is particularly offensive because of Padilla’s position of authority and trust in the community as a law enforcement officer,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “We stand ready with our federal, state and local partners to identify and prosecute those who would prey upon minor children – no matter who they are.”

“As a member of law enforcement, Padilla was trusted and sworn to protect his community. He lost that trust when he violated a minor and put children’s safety at risk,” said Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “I am thankful for the hard work of my office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to hold Padilla accountable for his crimes and get a sexually violent predator off the streets. This sentencing is a reminder that being in a position of public trust does not put you above the law.”

“Rescuing the victims of exploitation will always be one of HSI’s most sacred responsibilities, especially those in vulnerable populations such as minor children. The fact that this crime occurred at the hands of a sworn law enforcement officer makes it that much more egregious,” said William S. Walker, Special Agent in Charge of HSI’s Philadelphia office. “HSI and our partners in the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) will relentlessly pursue child predators, especially those in positions of trust and authority. I am very proud of the HSI Special Agents, PSP Troopers, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys that brought this investigation to a conclusion and ultimately served justice for the victim.”

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 United States 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

The case was investigated by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, the Pennsylvania State Police, and Homeland Security Investigations, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Josh A. Davison and Special
Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Laucella, cross-designated from the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General.


Outcome: Defendant was sentenced to 15 years in prions, followed by 10 years of supervised release and order to pay $15,300 in special assessments.

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