CONCORD – United States Attorney Scott W. Murray announced that Joseph Norko, 51, of Saint Johnsbury, Vermont, was sentenced on Friday to serve 121 months in prison for attempting to arrange sexual encounters with children.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Norko’s charges were based on two online undercover investigations. One investigation was conducted by the Portsmouth Police Department and one was conducted by the Lebanon Police Department. In July of 2017, the defendant responded to an online advertisement posted by a Portsmouth police officer purporting to offer sex with a 12-year-old girl. In September of 2017, he responded to an online advertisement posted by a Lebanon police officer purporting to be a 15-year-old girl. The defendant then traveled from Vermont to New Hampshire in order to engage in sexual contact with the person he thought was 15 years old.
Norko pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted online enticement and one count of interstate travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual activity on February 22, 2018. His prison sentence will be followed by ten years of supervised release.
“Protecting children from predators is an important priority of the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” said U.S. Attorney Murray. “Sadly, there are predators who use the anonymity of the Internet to locate and prey upon young victims. We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to protect the safety of the children from those who would rob them of their innocence.”
“Online exploitation of children is one of the most disturbing crimes we investigate. It’s always very satisfying when our close coordination with our federal and state partners successfully brings the predators who engage in this behavior to justice,” said Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent in Charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations in Boston.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, Rockingham County Attorney’s Office, Grafton County Attorney’s Office, Vermont State Police, the Lebanon Police Department, the Portsmouth Police Department, and the New Hampshire Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which includes members of several other police departments. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Georgiana L. Konesky.
In February 2006, the Department of Justice introduced Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices, 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. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
District of New Hampshire