MIAMI, FL – On Thursday, July 1, 2021, Nikolas Cook, 22, of Stuart, Florida, pled guilty in federal district court in Ft. Pierce to production, distribution, and possession of child pornography. According to court documents, on September 10, 2020, Cook communicated with others in a social media group created for individuals interested in child sexual abuse material. While participating in the chat group, Cook produced and distributed multiple pornographic images of a three-year-old girl.
An investigation led agents to Cook’s residence. Agents arrested Cook within 12 hours of learning of his activity in the chat group. During a search of Cook’s residence, agents located electronic devices containing multiple sexually explicit images and videos of minor children being sexually abused.
The court will set a date for Cook’s sentencing hearing. Cook faces a minimum of 15 years in prison and a maximum possible sentence of 70 years. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Juan Antonio Gonzalez and Special Agent in Charge for FBI Miami George L. Piro announced the guilty plea. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Martin County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel E. Funk and Luisa Berti are prosecuting it.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals, who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about the Project Safe Childhood initiative and for information regarding Internet safety, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.