Owensboro, KY – Christopher Bertolett was yesterday sentenced to 30 years in prison for violating federal statutes on child exploitation.
U.S. Attorney Michael A. Bennett of the Western District of Kentucky, Special Agent in Charge Rob Holman of the United States Secret Service, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, and Chief Arthur Ealum Jr. of the Owensboro Police Department made the announcement.
Bertolett, 54, previously pleaded guilty to seducing minors online, leaking obscene material to minors, manufacturing child pornography and traveling interstate to engage in illegal sexual activity.
In the plea change hearing, Bertolett admitted he met a 14-year-old girl through an online software application in January 2021. The girl lived in Owensboro, Kentucky, and Bertolett lived in Saint Louis, Missouri. The two communicated online from January 2021 to May 2021. Bertolett and the girl discussed a variety of topics, including sexual activity, during the online communication. On or about February 4, 2021, Bertolett sent the 14-year-old girl pictures of her genitals.
On or about May 9, 2021, Bertolett rented a car and drove from Saint Louis to Owensboro, where he met the girl, drove her to an Owensboro motel, and sexually exploited her. Law enforcement officers arrested Bertolett on May 10, 2021.
In addition to the 30-year sentence, Bertolett was ordered to pay the victim $10,000.00 in restitution. He was also given a life sentence under supervision upon his release from prison. There is no probation in the federal system.
Assistant United States Attorneys Jo E. Lawless and Raymond McGee prosecuted the case.
The United States Secret Service, the Kentucky Attorney General’s Criminal Investigations Division and the Owensboro Police Department conducted the investigation.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched by the Justice Department in May 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the CID’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Division, Project Safe Childhood provides federal, state, and local resources to identify, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who are sexually exploiting children and around identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information on internet safety education, go to www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the Resources tab.