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The 45-year-old owner of a private police force who used to be a New York city cop was sentenced today to 15 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to producing child pornography — basically a sex tape with his 17-year-old girlfriend.
Joseph Guarascio pleaded guilty in September to the charge and other charges against him were dropped in a plea agreement.
Guarascio, who owned Inter-Pol Special Police Services, was sentenced in federal court in Raleigh.
Guarascio’s sentence was the minimum he could have received for the charge, according to the prosecutor who handled the case.
Though the age of consent in North Carolina is 16, it is illegal to film sexual activity with anyone under the age of 18.
So apparently sometime between September and his plea hearing today, Guarascio changed attorneys yet again and hired a Georgia lawyer to handle the sentencing.
Also, the federal prosecutor in the case, Ethan Ontjes, told me just now that Guarascio was given the minimum sentence in part because he’d helped out a jailer who was assaulted by an inmate while Guarascio was awaiting trial on the charges. It was a motion Ontjes filed to shave Guarascio’s federal time in prison.
Apparently Guarascio’s attorney wants him to be imprisoned in a Butner, N.C. federal prison and it looks like he may be headed there, Ontjes told me.
Also, Guarascio will have to serve at least 80 percent of his sentence, and then he’ll be on parole for the rest of his entire life not to mention he’ll be a registered sex offender.
Guarascio was charged with making child pornography after investigators confiscated his cell phone and computer during a search of his house. On his computer, investigators found more than 3,000 images of child porn. Guarascio was not charged with having the images on his computer, according to the feds and attorneys involved with the case.
Authorities had searched Guarascio’s house after a 14-year-old girl had reported to police that Guarascio had sexually assaulted her. Charges of statutory sex offense and indecent liberties involving the 14-year-old girl were dropped as part of the federal plea agreement. Other charges involving his 17-year-old girlfriend also were dropped as part of the deal.