A Cortland couple is now facing federal charges for sex crimes they committed against their own child last year.
25-year-old Lawrence Berry and his wife, 24-year old Brittney Berry, were arrested last September on child exploitation charges from the state, and now as of yesterday (April 17) are facing federal charges of the same nature.
Federal investigators now say Berry threatened to leave his wife if she didn’t commit and film the illicit acts, which Police say took place during the months of August and September 2018.
Both are now looking at a maximum of 30 years in prison and are being detained pending further proceedings.
Below is the full press release from the U.S. Justice Department:
“SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Lawrence C. Berry, age 25, and Brittany E. Berry, age 24, of Cortland, New York, were charged today with conspiring to sexually exploit a child.
The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and James N. Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
A federal criminal complaint charges that in or about August and September 2018, the defendants conspired together to sexually exploit a child who was born in 2015 for the purpose of producing visual depictions of that abuse. The charges in the complaint are merely accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
If convicted of the charge alleged in the complaint, each defendant faces a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 15 years, a maximum sentence of 30 years, a fin of up to $250,000, and a term of post-imprisonment supervised release of at least 5 years and up to life. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors.
The defendants appeared today before United States Magistrate Judge Andrew T. Baxter, who ordered that they be detained pending further proceedings.
This case is being investigated by the FBI and the City of Cortland Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael D. Gadarian as part of Project Safe Childhood. Launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, Project Safe Childhood is led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS). 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 https://www.justice.gov/psc.”