For Immediate Release - April 13, 2012

Berlin Man Pleads Guilty, Sentenced to Jail in Connection with Possessing Child Pornography

WORCESTER – A Berlin man has pled guilty and been sentenced to one year in jail for possessing images of child pornography on his computer, Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office announced today.

Michael A. Amato III, age 37, pled guilty on Thursday to charges of Possession of Child Pornography (5 counts), Possession of Child Pornography with Intent to Distribute, and Improper Storage of a Firearm.  

“Child pornography is the exploitation of children.  This defendant was found in possession of hundreds of exploitative images and video files and shared those files over a file sharing network,” said AG Coakley.  “This sentence not only requires him to serve a year in prison, but also prevents him from having unsupervised contact with children throughout his probation.”

After the plea was entered, Worcester Superior Court Judge James R. Lemire sentenced Amato to serve one year and one day in State Prison, with a probationary period of five years after he is released from prison.  While on probation, Amato must register with the state’s Sex Offender Registry Board, must undergo sex offender evaluation and counseling, and he will also be monitored by a GPS electronic bracelet.  Judge Lemire also ordered that Amato have no unsupervised contact with any children, no internet use, and he cannot loiter in areas where children tend to congregate.  

In August 2010, while conducting an undercover investigation into the possession and distribution of child pornography over a file sharing network, a member of the Pennsylvania State Police discovered a computer located in Massachusetts that contained numerous files the law enforcement officer knew to be child pornography.  This information was provided to Massachusetts State Police assigned to the AG’s Office.  Investigators from the AG’s Office discovered that this computer was located at an address belonging to Amato.  On October 22, 2010, State Police obtained and executed a search warrant authorizing the search of Amato’s residence where authorities seized computers from Amato’s residence.  Subsequent investigation of Amato’s computers revealed hundreds of images and video files containing child pornography.  Amato was able to share these files via his computer over a file-sharing network.  The search of Amato’s residence also yielded an unsecured rifle.

Amato was later arrested and arraigned in Clinton District Court on charges of Possession of Child Pornography and Improper Storage of a Firearm.  On July 21, 2011, a Worcester County Grand Jury returned indictments against Amato on charges of Possession of Child Pornography, Possession of Child Pornography with Intent to Distribute, and Improper Storage of a Firearm.  He was arraigned on August 11, 2011 in Worcester Superior Court.  Yesterday, Amato pled guilty to all charges and was sentenced.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Jessica Massey of AG Coakley’s Cyber Crime Division.  It was investigated by Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Attorney General’s Office and investigators from the AG’s Computer Forensics Lab.

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