Candidate arrested on child porn charges


EVANSTON — An Evanston City Council candidate is in custody after he was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of manufacturing and possessing child pornography. 

According to a press release issued by the Evanston Police Department, officers have been actively investigating 33-year-old Maurizio Roberto Mariotti since spring after “receiving a complaint from a now-adult female victim.”

Mariotti is charged with five counts of sexual exploitation of children related to manufacturing child pornography and 10 counts of sexual exploitation of children for allegedly possessing child pornography. 

The alleged victim reported to the Evanston Police Department on May 17 that she met Mariotti when she was 16 years old and described “numerous sexual encounters with Mariotti, which had occurred while [she] was a minor child.”

On June 25, detectives obtained a search warrant related to Mariotti’s Facebook account, and began reviewing his Facebook content on Aug. 7. According to court documents, detectives found several nude pictures of the minor child.

A week later, detectives executed a search warrant at Mariotti’s residence at 101 Main St. in Evanston, where they said they found “a large amount of media” that showed the victim engaged in explicit sexual conduct. Those media files, which were found on multiple electronic devices in Mariotti’s possession, led to the five charges related to manufacturing child pornography, according to court documents. Investigators were able to determine the video files were created between May 13, 2016 and July 9, 2016, when the alleged victim was 17 years old.

But detectives said Mariotti’s interest in children reached further than a 16- or 17-year-old he was seeing. According to court documents, detectives found child pornography in Mariotti’s possession that depicted boys and girls ranging in age from a toddler to pre-pubescent and some early-pubescent. Those findings led to the 10 charges of possession of child porn.

Evanston police worked with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation’s Internet Crimes Against Children Division to compile the evidence against Mariotti for charges to be filed through the Uinta County Attorney’s Office. 

Each count of manufacturing child pornography carries a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of 12 years, along with a fine of up to $10,000. Each count of possession carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, along with a fine of up to $10,000. If convicted, Mariotti could face a sentence of at least 25 years in prison and up to 160 years, along with up to $150,000 in fines.

Mariotti was in Circuit Court on Tuesday, where his bail was set at $100,000 cash only. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 9, in Circuit Court.

Although he’s currently detained at the Uinta County jail, Mariotti will still be on the General Election ballot on Tuesday, Nov. 6. In fact, with the presumption of innocence, he could technically win a seat on the Evanston City Council.

“At this point,” Uinta County Clerk Amanda Hutchinson said, “he has not been convicted of a felony and is still eligible to vote and be on the ballot. The voters will get to have their say by casting their ballots.”

Mariotti is facing incumbent David Welling in Ward 3.

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