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Man pleads guilty on distributing child porn after domestic violence charges

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PROVIDENCE – A Cranston man who, two days after being arrested on domestic violence charges in May 2018, was discovered to be in possession of images of child pornography pleaded guilty in federal court on Friday to distributing and possessing child pornography.

According to information presented to the Court, Robert E. Soares, 39, was arrested by Cranston Police on May 28, 2018, on state domestic violence charges. Soares was arrested after his girlfriend called and reported to police that she and another woman had been forced by Soares into a bedroom in her home, and that Soares was prohibiting them from leaving the room and the residence. The woman told police she feared for her safety.

According to information presented to the Court, two days after the alleged domestic violence incident, the alleged victim called police to report that she received a call from an individual who told her that Soares had previously sent him “disgusting” images of child pornography. After further investigation, Cranston Police obtained a court-authorized search warrant to search Soares’ cell phone.

A forensic review of Soares’ cellphone resulted in the discovery of more than two-dozen images of child erotica and child pornography, a series of text messages sent and received by Soares discussing photographs depicting child pornography, and a browser history showing Internet searches and sites viewed that are associated with the viewing and the downloading of images and videos of child pornography.

Appearing November 22, 2018, before U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith, Soares pleaded guilty to distribution of child pornography and possession of child pornography, announced United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman, Cranston Police Chief Colonel Michael J. Winquist, and Homeland Security Investigations Acting Special Agent in Charge Jason Molina.

Soares is scheduled to be sentenced on March 3, 2020.

Distribution of child pornography is punishable by statutory penalties of a minimum of 5 years up to 20 years in federal prison, to be followed by 5 years to lifetime supervised release; a fine of up to $250,000; and a $5,000 special assessment as required by the Justice for Victims Trafficking Act in child sexual exploitation cases where the Court makes a finding that the defendant is not indigent.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Denise M. Barton.

The matter was investigated by the Cranston Police Department, with the assistance of members of Homeland Security Investigations Task Force and Warwick Police Department.

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