November 30, 2021

Marathon man pleads guilty to child sex abuse

A Marathon man accused in 2018 of recording his wife sexually abusing a child and sending the video over the internet pleaded guilty Thursday to several felonies in federal district court.

Lawrence Berry, 27, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to sexually exploit a child and five counts of sexual exploitation of a child, announced acting United States Attorney Antoinette T. Bacon and FBI Special Agent in Charge Janeen DiGuiseppi.

As part of his guilty plea, Berry admitted that he conspired with Brittany Berry — who pleaded guilty to the same charges in October 2019 — to sexually exploit a 3-year-old child in August and September of 2018 and that he directed Brittany Berry to sexually exploit the child on five other occasions to create and send images and videos of the sexual abuse to him over the internet.

Sentencing is set for Nov. 23 in Utica before U.S. District Court Judge David N. Hurd. Berry faces at least 15 years and up to 30 years in prison on each of the six counts. He will also have to spend between five years and life under supervised release. He will be required to register as a sex offender.

Brittany Berry told police at her arrest in September 2018 that Lawrence Berry compelled her to commit the acts, recorded at a Rickard Street home.

“Larry has been asking me to send him videos of a sexual nature, which I have sent,” she told police, according to court records in her case, before it was transferred to federal court. “Larry also threatened to leave me several times if I did not do these things …”

Tim Lord of Cortland, Brittany Berry’s stepfather, told police he saw several of the messages where Lawrence Berry requested the recordings.

“He is manipulating Brittany into doing these things …” Lord told police.

The case was investigated by the FBI and Cortland police and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael D. Gadarian and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Adrian LaRochelle as part of Project Safe Childhood, an effort started in 2006 and led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.

For details about Project Safe Childhood, go to www.justice.gov/psc.