WILMINGTON, N.C. — A former Carolina Beach police officer was sentenced Monday to 10 to 17 years in prison for a string of sex assaults in New Hanover and Brunswick counties, authorities said.
Joseph Adam Silva, 31, pleaded guilty to four counts of second-degree sexual offense, two counts of second degree rape, three counts of sexual servitude of an adult victim and four counts of impersonating a law enforcement officer.
Silva worked for the Carolina Beach Police Department from March to September 2015. Early last year, women began reporting to authorities that they had been solicited through online ads by a man claiming to be a police officer working a prostitution operation. The man would show them his former police identification card while keeping his name covered and showed them a picture of himself in uniform on his iPhone.
The man then raped some of the women and forced others to perform sex acts, authorities said.
One of the women agreed to meet with the man a second time to help authorities identify him, and Silva was taken into custody. Authorities said he had left his children, ages 7 and 3, asleep at home while he went to meet the woman.
Investigators were able to link Silva to some of the victims through phone records, and all of the women gave descriptions of their attacker that matched Silva, authorities said.
“The defendant preyed on some of the most vulnerable people in our community – people who are fearful they are going to be harmed, fearful they won’t be believed, fearful they will be arrested and sent to jail, fearful their families will find out,” Brunswick County Assistant District Attorney Connie Jordan said in a statement. “By holding himself out as a law enforcement, Joseph Silva placed these women in fear for their lives and also made them feel they would not be safe if they reported his crimes against them.”
After his release from prison, Silva will have to serve five years on probation in a sex offender control program and register as an aggravated sex offender, which entails satellite monitoring of his whereabouts for the rest of his life.