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Man sentenced in child porn case

BARRE — Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell on Dec. 11 announced that Scott Cota of Ferrisburgh  was sentenced in the Vermont Superior Court, Washington Criminal Division, to four to 15 years to serve for six counts of promoting child pornography and one count of violating the terms of his probation.
The child pornography charges resulted from a shared investigation between the South Burlington Police Department, Vermont’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and the Vermont Attorney General’s Office.
According to documents filed with the court, Cota posted approximately 90 advertisements on Craigslist looking for “taboo” materials. Through these advertisements, he connected with other individuals from around the country and then traded files containing child pornography. These files depicted adult men forcing children of both genders, including infants, to engage in various forms of sexual conduct.
Sorrell’s office said that one of the individuals Cota conversed with was Christopher Cloonan from Jacksonville, Fla. During their conversations, Cota encouraged Cloonan to record himself molesting a very young daughter and then send the recordings to Cota. According to documents filed with the court, Cloonan was apprehended by the Federal Bureau of Investigations in Florida and Florida child protective services rescued his daughter. The U.S. Attorney in Florida has since charged Cloonan with various child pornography offenses in federal court.
The violation of probation charges against Cota, prosecuted by the Washington County State’s Attorney’s Office, were filed as a result of the child pornography charges. Cota had been placed on probation in 2013 after pleading guilty to three counts of violating an abuse prevention order.
Vermont’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force investigates cases of child sexual exploitation occurring over the Internet. These investigations include the production and online sharing of child pornography. This Task Force also provides forensic examination services, technical assistance, law enforcement training, and public education and outreach. The Attorney General’s Office, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Vermont State Police, and other county and municipal law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies are affiliated with the task force.

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