Wilmington man pleads guilty to rape, kidnapping and child sex crimes

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Francis Zober (Photo: Brunswick County Sheriff's Office)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY (WWAY) — A Wilmington man will spend up to 34 years in prison after pleaded guilty to multiple offenses including first degree rape and kidnapping, and 12 counts of second-degree exploitation of a minor.

According to a news release from the Brunswick County District Attorney’s Office, in a plea agreement Francis Zober was sentenced to an active prison term of minimum of 20 years in prison and a maximum of 34 years.

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Zober will also have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

His plea is the result of several investigations including a joint investigation between the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI.

It was initially reported to be a revenge porn case when Zober was accused of sharing private photos of somebody without their consent in October 2017.



The press release says detectives found suspicious pictures on his phone and asked the FBI to help determine if Zober duplicated child pornography.

According to arrest warrants, Zober shared the images with ‘the intent to harass, demean and humiliate’ the victim. Warrants state the victim’s intimate parts were exposed. In some of the images, the victim was engaged in sexual conduct.

Zober was arrested for child pornography but bonded out of the Brunswick County Detention Center in April 2018. Several days after his release, he was wanted by the sheriff’s office for attempted rape and kidnapping.

According to the press release, Zober broke into the victim’s home and assaulted her before taking off to South Carolina.

Zober was captured in Folly Beach, SC after running from a traffic stop and attempting to escape by swimming in the Atlantic Ocean.