The Attorney General’s Office announced that Robert Bivens, 54, and Andrew Sollace, 41, both of Montpelier, were arraigned last week on multiple counts of possession of child sexual abuse material. Bivens was arraigned on two felony counts and three misdemeanor counts of possession of child sexual abuse material. Sollace was arraigned on four felony counts of possession of child sexual abuse material.
The charges brought against Bivens and Sollace are the result of a criminal investigation — including the execution of search warrants into their shared residence and online accounts — by the Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which included personnel from the Attorney General’s Office, the Montpelier Police Department, the Randolph Police Department, the Burlington Police Department, and Homeland Security Investigations.
The investigation was initiated when the task force received multiple CyberTipline reports from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that files of suspected child sexual abuse material, commonly referred to as “child pornography,” were uploaded on the Google platform. Based upon the criminal investigation of these tips, Bivens and Sollace were identified as suspects. During the execution of a search warrant, law enforcement officers located child sexual abuse material on cell phones belonging to Bivens and Sollace. Law enforcement will be conducting further examinations of devices collected from the shared residence.
Bivens and Sollace both pleaded not guilty at their arraignments in the Vermont Superior Court, Washington Criminal Division. The court ordered conditions of release which restrict Biven’s and Sollace’s access to minors and devices capable of accessing the internet during the pendency of the case.
The Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force investigates cases of child sexual exploitation occurring over the internet, including the production and online distribution of child sexual abuse materials. The task force also provides forensic examination services, technical assistance, law enforcement training, and public education and outreach.
The Attorney General’s Office emphasizes that individuals charged with a crime are legally presumed innocent until their guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
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