General · March 29, 2021

Soldano Sentenced For Possession Of Child Pornography

Convicted Sex Offender In Gastonia, N.C., Joseph Soldano Is Sentenced To 12 Years For Possession Of Child Pornography

CHARLOTTE, N.C (STL.News) Acting U.S. Attorney William T. Stetzer announced that Joseph Soldano, 44, of Gastonia, N.C., was sentenced to 12 years in prison today for possession of child pornography. In addition to the prison term imposed, U.S. District Judge Frank D. Whitney ordered Soldano to serve a lifetime of supervised release, to register as a sex offender after he is released from prison, and to pay $22,000 in special assessment fees and $3,000 as restitution.

According to information contained in filed documents and statements made in court, in April 2019, law enforcement determined that an individual later identified as Soldano was using the Kik instant messaging application to communicate with another individual about the sexual abuse of minors, and to receive images containing visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.  Law enforcement visited Soldano’s residence and seized a cell phone.  A forensic review of the seized device revealed that Soldano possessed multiple images and videos depicting the sexual abuse of children, including toddlers and infants.  On August 18, 2020, Soldano pleaded guilty to possession of material containing child pornography that involved a prepubescent minor.  At the time he committed the offense, Soldano was required to register as a sex offender based on his 2001 conviction of Second Degree Sexual Abuse involving an 8-year-old female victim in New York.

In making today’s announcement, Acting U.S. Attorney Stetzer commended the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for their investigation of the case, and thanked the Gaston County Police Department for their invaluable assistance.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cortney Randall and Emily Wasserman, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, prosecuted the case.

The 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 U.S. 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.