SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) - A man who pleaded guilty to production of child pornography was sentenced to 28 years in prison today, announced Matthew G.T. Martin, United States Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina.
Joshua Douglas Martorelli, 36, of Salisbury, pleaded guilty on August 7, 2019, to one count of production of child pornography and one count of attempted production of child pornography. He was sentenced by Chief United States Chief District Judge Thomas D. Schroeder to 28 years of imprisonment followed by 25 years of supervised release.
According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Martorelli targeted children for sexual exploitation by forming romantic relationships with their mothers. He then cajoled the mothers to exploit their own children for his sexual gratification.
In fall 2016, Martorelli directed the mother of a young boy to sexually assault the child and send him a picture of the abuse. The mother complied. Messages recovered by investigators revealed that Martorelli made many similar requests during the same time period.
This case was investigated by a team of agencies comprised of the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). All are members of the North Carolina Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative by the Department of Justice to combat online child sexual exploitation and abuse, and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Eric L. Iverson. 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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov.