U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Tennessee
(865) 545-4167
October 20, 2015

Joel D. Cormier Sentenced to 18 Years in Prison for Using the Internet to Entice Children for Illegal Sexual Purposes

GREENEVILLE, TN—On Oct. 19, 2015, Joel D. Cormier, 27, of Blountville, Tenn., was sentenced by the Honorable J. Ronnie Greer, U.S. District Court Judge, to serve 18 years in federal prison. Cormier will also serve a life term of supervised release with special conditions. There is no parole in the federal system.

Cormier pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of a federal grand jury indictment charging him with using a means of interstate commerce to entice a child for illegal sexual activity.

The investigation began when the family of a 15-year-old child reported to local law enforcement that Cormier had solicited meetings with their child using the Internet and that he had actually traveled to meet their child on several occasions for the purpose of engaging in illegal sexual activity. Subsequent investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies revealed that a total of six minor children from northeast Tennessee, southwest Virginia, and New Jersey were victims of Cormier’s conduct and that he had actually met and engaged in illegal sexual activity with five of the victims. In his plea agreement, which is on file with the U.S. District Court, Cormier admitted that he knew the victims were minors when he communicated with them online and created fictitious social media profiles portraying himself as a 15-year-old child with terminal brain cancer for his communications with some of them.

“This individual’s conduct demonstrates that the Internet can be a dangerous tool for predators and reminds the public to be vigilant in protecting yourselves and your children. Six minor females from three different states were victims of this online predator through his use of websites and applications. The lengthy sentence he received sends a strong message to other potential perpetrators about the consequences of committing these heinous crimes. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to prosecute predators who seek out children on the Internet,” stated U.S. Attorney Bill Killian.

This investigation and prosecution was a result of the collaborative efforts of Washington County Virginia Sheriff’s Office, City of Bristol Virginia Police Department, Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, Greene County Sheriff’s Office, Office of the Attorney General of Virginia, and Federal Bureau of Investigation. M. Suzanne Kerney-Quillen, Assistant Attorney General and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, represented the United States.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. 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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

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