standing Courts

PROVIDENCE — A Westerly man has been ordered to serve 180 years in prison for repeatedly persuading and coercing a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct over a two-year period.

A federal judge on Friday sentenced Jay Gaccione, 41, formerly of 5 Pierce St., to serve five 30-year sentences for conviction of sexual exploitation of a minor, 10 years for conviction of distribution of child pornography and 10 years each for conviction on two counts of possession of child pornography.

All sentences are to run consecutively, according to court documents, and Gaccione has been assigned to serve his sentence at FMC Devens, a federal prison in Massachusetts that houses male inmates requiring specialized or long-term medical or mental health care.

Gaccione has been in federal custody since November 2016 when members of the Department of Homeland Security, assisted by the Westerly Police Department and members of the Rhode Island State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, served a search warrant on his home. The search led officials to seize, among other items, several electronic and digital storage devices.

“Forensic audits of the devices revealed numerous videos and images of child pornography produced by Gaccione with a victim between the ages of 12- and 14 years old,” said Jim Martin, spokesman for U.S. District Attorney Aaron L. Weisman, in a press release.

Court documents also stated that the investigation determined that Gaccione had also sought to obtain images from an individual he communicated with online of a child as young as 3 years old being sexually assaulted.

Gaccione was held without bond following the November search and was eventually indicted in federal court on six counts of production of child pornography, two counts of possession of child pornography, one count of distribution of child pornography. The production charges were later changed to sexual exploitation of a minor.

Following a lengthy pretrial process, Gaccione entered guilty pleas to all charges except one count of sexual exploitation of a minor in November 2018.

In a press release, Weisman thanked the Westerly police for their efforts, noting the agency helped provide support and organized logistics during the search efforts.

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