Man sentenced to 30 years in sexual exploitation of teen girl in Owensboro

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OWNESBORO, Ky. – A man was sentenced yesterday to 30 years in prison for violating federal child exploitation laws.

U.S. attorney Michael A. Bennett of the western district of Kentucky, a special agent for the United State Secret Service, Kentucky attorney general Daniel Cameron and chief Arthur Ealum Jr. of the Owensboro Police Department made the announcement.

Christopher Bertolett, 54, previously pleaded guilty to online enticement of a minor, transfer of obscene material to a minor, production of child pornography and interstate travel to engage in illegal sexual activity

Officials say Bertolett admitted in January 2021 that he met a 14-year-old girl through an online software application.

The girl lived in Owensboro, and Bertolett lived in St. Louis, Missouri.

Bertolett and the 14-year-old girl communicated from January 2021 to May 2021, and sexual activity was among the topics discussed, according to officials.

Officials say Bertolett sent the 14-year-old a picture of his genitalia on or around Feb. 4, 2021.

Around or on the date of May 9, 2021, Bertolett rented a car and drove from St. Louis to Owensboro, where officials say he met the girl, took her to a motel and sexually exploited her.

Bertolett was arrested the next day.

In addition to a 30-year prison sentence, Bertolett is ordered to pay $10,000 to the victim in restitution. He is also ordered to serve a life term of supervised release once he is out of prison.

There is no parole in the federal system.