NORTH ATTLEBORO — A convicted local sex offender arrested earlier this year for allegedly sending child pornography to a woman and an undercover state trooper through social media has been indicted by a federal grand jury.
Nicholas Robillard, 39, a Level 3 sex offender, faces one count each of distribution of child pornography and possession of child pornography in federal court in Boston, the U.S. Attorney’s office said Monday.
Robillard, who was living at a rooming house at 44 Elm St. before he was arrested Feb. 14, was indicted earlier this year by a Bristol County grand jury on state child pornography charges. As a result of the federal indictment, the case was dismissed Tuesday.
Robillard pleaded innocent at an initial appearance in U.S. District Court on Friday before Magistrate Judge Judith Dein. He has been held in jail since his arrest and remains held in custody pending a federal pretrial detention hearing at a later date.
Dein wrote that prosecutors are seeking a detention hearing because the “defendant poses a danger to the community and a serious risk of flight,” according to court records.
The investigation started in January when a Louisiana woman complained to authorities that she was communicating with a man on the Kik messaging app and he sent her child pornography and told her he had sex with prepubescent children, according to court records.
The alleged incidents occurred between Oct. 16, 2018 and his arrest on Feb. 14, shortly after Robillard allegedly communicated with an undercover state trooper posing as the woman.
When state and local police executed a search warrant on Robillard’s room and seized his cellphone, they found five images of girls between 4 months and 10 years old being sexually assaulted, according to court records.
Based on his prior criminal record, Robillard faces 15-40 years in prison if convicted on the charge of distribution of child pornography. He faces 10-20 years on the charge of possession of child pornography, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Robillard has a record of sex crimes dating to when he was 16 which includes crimes involving children of both sexes, including rape, indecent assault and battery and committing unnatural acts.
He moved to North Attleboro six years ago following his release from prison after serving a 5- to 7-year sentence on a 2004 rape conviction. He previously was sent to prison in 2000 for indecent assault and battery on a person younger than 14, according to court records.
Robillard is classified as a Level 3 sex offender, the most serious category of individuals who are considered most likely to commit sex crimes again.