PORTLAND — A Sanford man pleaded not guilty in federal court to three child pornography charges Friday.

Royce Breton, 31, is accused of sexually exploiting a minor to produce child pornography, possession of child pornography and distribution of child pornography. Breton allegedly produced pornography between January 2008 and August 2010.

The production offense, the most serious of the three, carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years. The maximum sentence is 30 years. The possession charge is punishable by no more than 10 years imprisonment and the distribution charge has a penalty of five to 20 years.

Breton was arrested in July, after he was indicted on the production and possession charges. A second indictment added the distribution charge earlier this month. A magistrate judge has ordered him to be detained pending his trial, citing the risk he could pose to others.

Timothy Zerillo, Breton’s attorney, noted that he has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him.

“He looks forward to his day in court and will certainly vigorously defend himself,” Zerillo said Friday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacey Neumann declined to comment on the case.

According to court documents, police came into contact with Breton last year as they were investigating a computer hacking case. Someone had hacked into another person’s email account and was demanding sexually explicit photos and was threatening to disseminate embarrassing photos if the person didn’t comply. At the time, Breton had a job working on nuclear submarines at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and was taking pre-med classes at the University of New England.

Police traced the hacker’s IP address to Breton. He allowed the officers to take a desktop computer. The officers later learned of a laptop computer and found pornographic images of a young girl on it.

The defense is asking the court to suppress evidence and statements Breton made to authorities, arguing that photographs taken by police were outside the scope of their search warrant and that Breton did not receive a proper Miranda warning. No hearing dates on the matter have been set.

In February, police took photographs of Breton’s hands, measured them and had him model them in certain ways. Authorities suspect that the adult hands in some of the images are Breton’s. The government maintains a search warrant wasn’t needed to photograph Breton’s hands.

Zerillo is arguing that Breton had no criminal history or significant contact with police when officers first came to his home last year. Breton didn’t feel he could stop the interrogation or ask the officers to leave and ended up making incriminating statements, according to the defense. Neumann has countered that no Miranda warning was needed because Breton wasn’t in custody at the time.

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:

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