The following press release was issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia on Wednesday, November 9, 2022.
Defendant Shared Explicit Videos With Undercover Officer
WASHINGTON – A District of Columbia man was sentenced today to 10 years in prison on a federal charge of distribution of child pornography.
Akiva Bernstein, 22, pleaded guilty in March 2022, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He was sentenced by the Honorable Christopher R. Cooper. Upon completion of his prison term, Bernstein will be placed on eight years of supervised release. He was ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution to a victim depicted in the images that he distributed. Bernstein also must register as a sex offender following his release from prison.
The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves and Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office’s Criminal Division.
According to the government’s evidence, in November of 2020, Bernstein used a mobile messaging application to communicate with an individual who he believed was a father with access to a young child. Bernstein attempted to set up a meeting with the individual and child. In the process, he forwarded the agent 12 videos, at least nine of which depicted the sexual abuse of prepubescent children. On Dec. 2, 2020, Bernstein agreed to meet the individual and child for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts and contacts. He was arrested.
Following his arrest, Bernstein provided consent for law enforcement to search his cellphone, which had approximately 40 videos depicting sex acts with minor children.
This case was investigated by the FBI Washington Field Office’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force. The task force is composed of FBI agents, along with other federal agents and detectives from northern Virginia and the District of Columbia. The task force is charged with investigating and bringing federal charges against individuals engaged in the exploitation of children and those engaged in human trafficking.
This case was brought as part of the Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood initiative. In February 2006, the Attorney General created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorney's Offices, 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 identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Graves and Special Agent in Charge Jacobs commended the work of those who investigated the case from the FBI's Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force. They also commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Janani Iyengar, who prosecuted the case, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Stauss, who provided valuable assistance.