A Maine man pleaded guilty today to the sexual exploitation of children and distribution of a video depicting the sexual abuse of children.

According to court documents, Joseph Zoll, 63, of Sanford, used an online chat and webcam application from his home in Maine to direct an individual in the Philippines to live-stream a video of herself sexually abusing a prepubescent child. Zoll instructed this individual to, among other things, expose the child’s genitals to the camera for him to see and discuss with her his desire to sexually abuse the child. In another instance, Zoll sent this same individual a video depicting an adult woman sexually abusing a child who appeared to be approximately six to eight years old. Zoll communicated with this woman for over two years, during which time he repeatedly instructed her to live-stream video depictions of child sexual abuse. Video files found on electronic devices in Zoll’s home confirm that he had similar online relationships with multiple other individuals who, at Zoll’s direction would live-stream video depictions of themselves sexually abusing children for Zoll.

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Zoll pleaded guilty to one count of sexual exploitation of children and one count of distribution of child pornography. He faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison and a maximum penalty of 50 years in prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Darcie N. McElwee for the District of Maine, and Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Krol of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New England made the announcement.

HSI New England is investigating the case.