Former Charlotte Resident Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison for Transporting Child Pornography
CHARLOTTE, NC—U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr. sentenced today Paul Edward Baalerud, 56, formerly of Charlotte, to 14 years in prison on child pornography charges, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Baalerud was also sentenced to a lifetime of supervised release and was ordered to register as a sex offender.
U.S. Attorney Rose is joined in making today’s announcement by John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Charlotte Division and Chief Kerr Putney of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department.
According to filed documents and statements made in court, from about December 2013 to January 2014, law enforcement became aware that an individual, later identified as Baalerud, was sharing child pornography using peer to peer software. The investigation revealed that Baalerud possessed a collection of child pornography, consisting of 99 images and videos depicting children, including toddlers, being sexually abused. According to today’s court proceedings, Baalerud also molested three children, all under the age of three. Baalerud pleaded guilty in July 2015 to one count of transportation of child pornography.
Baalerud has been in federal custody since October 2014 and will be transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. Federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.
The investigation was handled by CMPD and FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cortney S. Randall of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte prosecuted the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 2006 by the Department of Justice, aimed at combating the growing online sexual exploitation of children. By combining resources, federal, state and local agencies are better able to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue those victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.