A Caribou man was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Bangor to seven years in federal prison for possessing child pornography.
Joshua Cote, who turned 23 on Wednesday, was arrested March 16 and has been held without bail since then.
He pleaded guilty in July to one count each of distribution of child pornography and possession of child pornography.
Cote’s downloading and sharing of videos depicting young girls being sexually assaulted came to the attention of U.S. Department of Homeland Security investigators in October 2016, according to court documents.
U.S. District Judge John Woodcock said in sentencing Cote that 120 videos of child pornography, at least one of which showed two adolescent boys raping a girl, were found on his electronic devices. None of the children depicted are believed to be from Maine.
“I find it profoundly disturbing that you would seek these out,” the judge told Cote. “Child pornography is egregious by its very nature. It isn’t just a crime against children, it’s a crime against childhood.”
Under the advisory federal sentencing guidelines, Cote faced between 17½ and nearly 22 years in prison.
Federal Defender James Nixon recommended Woodcock sentence his client to the mandatory minimum of five years in prison. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Ruge did not recommend a specific sentence but said after the hearing that the sentence was fair given the circumstances.
In addition to prison time, Woodcock sentenced Cote to seven years of supervised release following his incarceration. The judge also recommended the U.S. Bureau of Prisons assign Cote to a facility where he could undergo sex offender treatment.
If you or someone you know needs resources or support related to sexual violence, contact the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s 24/7 hotline at 800-871-7741.