Fitchburg man pleads guilty to federal child porn possession, distribution charges

April 14, 2017 GMT

A Fitchburg man pleaded guilty Thursday to federal charges that he distributed sexually explicit images of one girl and possessed images of another girl on a data storage card that police took from a digital camera.

Under a plea agreement filed last week in U.S. District Court, John Gilbert, 47, cannot ask for anything less than 10 years in prison when he is sentenced on June 22 by U.S. District Judge James Peterson. Prosecutors are free to argue for any sentence.

The child pornography distribution conviction carries a mandatory minimum of five years in prison, and a maximum of 20 years. The possession charge carries up to a 10-year prison sentence.

Gilbert was arrested in March 2016 after a 15-year-old girl told police that Gilbert and another man, Brian V. Holmes, 38, of Madison, had sexually assaulted her in a motel room.

Gilbert was initially charged in state court with child sexual assault, but the state dismissed its charges in favor of the federal child pornography production case.

According to a court document in the federal case, the girl told police that Gilbert had taken pictures of her involved in inappropriate sexual contact with friends of Gilbert at his home.

Gilbert was one of five men who were charged with sexual assault of the same 15-year-old girl. Holmes is awaiting sentencing later this month after pleading guilty to second-degree sexual assault of a child. Another man received probation after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor, and the fourth received probation after pleading guilty to one misdemeanor and one felony.

The fifth man, Jacob Medina, 32, of Madison, had faced child sexual assault charges in state court, but as in Gilbert’s case, they were dismissed in favor of federal charges.

Under a plea agreement filed last week in Medina’s federal case, he would plead guilty to one of the charges against him and ask for no less than 10 years in prison. No date for a plea hearing has been set.