News

Washington Man Sentenced To 20 Years (11/08/2017 @ 22:56:07)

Eastern Washington man sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for producing child pornography
SPOKANE, Wash. – A Benton man who previously pleaded guilty to producing child pornography was sentenced Wednesday to 20 years in federal prison, following a probe by the Southeast Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (SER-ICAC) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Robert Cody Cameron Genoway, 24, appeared before U.S. District Judge Stanley A. Bastian. In addition to the prison time, Judge Bastian ordered that Genoway be subject to a 30-year term of court supervision following his incarceration and that he be required to register as a sex offender.

According to information disclosed during court proceedings, in July 2016 investigators with the SER-ICAC and HSI observed an ad on a well-known website seeking a “petite young teeny bopper” for sexual acts. Investigators responded to the ad posing as a 13-year-old girl. During the course of the communications, Genoway described in graphic detail the manner in which he wished to have sexual intercourse with the purported minor, including choking the child for his own sexual pleasure. He also made multiple attempts to meet the purported child to commit the described sexual acts. Genoway communicated with the undercover investigator for a number of months via text message and email, despite the investigator advising that the purported 13-year-old was actually 11.

During an interview following his arrest, Genoway admitted he sought to meet the purported minor for the purpose of sexual intercourse. He also admitted engaging in sexual intercourse with another underage girl, and to producing pornographic images and videos depicting these acts. Genoway further described choking that minor during the course of his sexual interactions with her.

Through subsequent investigation, law enforcement officers located the minor victim and learned that Genoway began producing pornographic images of her when she was 13, and that he continued to engage in sexual acts with her for a three years. The images and videos of these encounters were among the child pornography found during a forensic examination of Genoway’s electronic devices. Law enforcement officials also learned that Genoway had distributed the child pornography and sought other adult males to have sexual intercourse with the minor victim.

During Wednesday’s sentencing hearing, Judge Bastian stated that the acts perpetrated by Genoway were “very concerning because it indicates that you were forcible, violent, and dangerous in your sex [acts with the] 13-year-old victim.” Judge Bastian further characterized Genoway’s conduct as “egregious,” and advised that Genoway’s “interest in young girls was ongoing and ultimately…led to [Genoway’s] downfall in the undercover enticement investigation.”

This case was pursued as part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood and HSI’s Operation Predator, an international HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 16,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2016, more than 2,600 child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 800 victims identified or rescued.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.

Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood and internet safety, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc.

In addition to HSI and the SER-ICAC, the Grand Rapids Police Department also participated in this investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Laurel J. Holland with the Eastern District of Washington.
https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/eastern-washington-man-sentenced-20-years-federal-prison-producing-child-pornography

North Texas Child Sex Trafficking (11/08/2017 @ 22:45:22)

8 men arrested in North Texas on federal child sex trafficking charges
FORT WORTH, Texas — Eight men are in federal custody on sex trafficking of children charges outlined in a federal criminal complaint filed last week, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.

This case is being investigated by the following agencies: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), FBI, and the Texas police departments of Fort Worth, Tyler and Arlington.

The following individuals were charged and made their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey L. Cureton. They have been remanded to custody pending additional court hearings.

Pierre Lagrone, aka “P” or “Pedro,” 33;
Robert Roseberry, aka “King Rose,” 29;
Herman Sanders, aka “Pooh,” 29;
Reginald Smith, aka “Green Light,” 28;
Demarcus Davis, aka “Zigg,” 25;
Kentrell Davis, aka “Zeal,” 24;
Cederrick Clarkson, aka “Ced” or “Spazz,” 25; and
Terroderick Watts, aka “Silk,” 27.
According to the affidavit filed with the criminal complaint, in March 2017, Fort Worth Police Department’s VICE Unit conducted a recovery operation in response to a lead sent from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in reference to a suspected victim of Child Sex Trafficking. Fort Worth VICE Unit located and utilized a Backpage.com ad containing photographs of a minor female, Jane Doe 1, that advertised commercial sex acts. As a result of the operation, Jane Doe 1 was recovered. Additionally, two other minor females, Jane Doe 2 and Jane Doe 3, were also located in a closet located in Jane Doe 1’s hotel room at the time she was recovered. These three females, and others, were victims of a child sex trafficking organization. Lagrone, Roseberry, Sanders, Smith, D. Davis, K. Davis, Clarkson and Watts were members of that organization and recruited, advertised and sold several women, both adults and underage for the purpose of commercial sex.

The affidavit also alleges that the eight suspects:

frequently worked together as an organization by utilizing some of the same underage and adult female victims to engage in commercial sex acts;
operated out of the same hotels while engaging in a commercial sex enterprise;
transported female victims for the purpose of commercial sex acts;
used and shared cellphones that were used to post ads for commercial sex on Backpage.com;
taking photographs of female victims either nude or in their underwear that were used in Backpage.com ads for commercial sex; and
obtained hotel rooms that were used to engage in commercial sex activities.
The defendants were also frequently violent if the females angered them or did not follow their directions.

A complaint is a written statement of the essential facts of the offense charged and must be made under oath before a magistrate judge. A defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. The government has 30 days to present the matter to a grand jury for indictment. The maximum statutory penalty for the offense as charged is life in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney P.J. Meitl, Northern District of Texas, is in charge of the prosecution.
https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/8-men-arrested-north-texas-federal-child-sex-trafficking-charges

Pennsylvania Man Charged Producing Child Pornography (11/08/2017 @ 22:41:25)

Pennsylvania man charged with producing child pornography, online enticement of a minor and transferring obscene material to a minor
SCRANTON, Pa. — A Pottstown, Pennsylvania, man was charged with multiple child exploitation crimes following an investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Philadelphia with assistance from the Pennsylvania State Police, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office and the Schuylkill County District Attorney’s Office.

An indictment against Omar Santiago-Muniz, 27, was unsealed Tuesday. The U.S. Attorney’s Office Middle District of Pennsylvania announced the charges of producing child pornography, online enticement of a minor and transferring obscene material to a minor.

The indictment alleges that Santiago-Muniz committed the offenses between June 2017, and July 21, 2017, in Schuylkill County and elsewhere.

Santiago-Muniz, faces a maximum penalty under federal law for these offenses of life imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment and a fine. There is also a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years imprisonment for the production of child pornography charge and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years imprisonment for the online enticement charge.

An indictment, information or criminal complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 16,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2016, more than 2,600 child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 800 victims identified or rescued.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.

For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page. HSI is a founding member of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.
https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/pennsylvania-man-charged-producing-child-pornography-online-enticement-minor-and

Former Minnesota High School Teacher (11/08/2017 @ 22:37:30)

Former Minnesota high school teacher sentenced to 5 years in federal prison for distributing child pornography
MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota man was sentenced Thursday to five years in federal prison for distributing child pornography through online chatrooms.

This sentence was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Gregory G. Brooker, District of Minnesota. This case resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Joshua Noble, 39, was charged by felony information on April 17, 2017, and pleaded guilty on June 29, 2013, to one count of distributing child pornography. Noble was sentenced Nov. 2 before Judge Ann D. Montgomery. He was also sentenced to 10 year term of supervised release, $26,000 in restitution to the victims, and he must pay a $5,000 special assessment to the Domestic Trafficking Victims Fund.

According to the defendant’s guilty plea and documents filed in court, Noble was a substitute teacher in Fergus Falls, Minn., for about 15 years. On March 4, 2016, undercover law enforcement officers observed Noble using an internet-based messaging service called Chatstep.com to obtain and distribute images depicting the sexual abuse of children. Noble possessed at least 244 such images, including depictions of prepubescent children under 12 years of age and infants and toddlers.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Miranda E. Dugi, District of Minnesota, prosecuted this case.

This investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 16,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2016, more than 2,600 child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 800 victims identified or rescued.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.

For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page. HSI is a founding member of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.
https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/former-minnesota-high-school-teacher-sentenced-5-years-federal-prison-distributing

Texas Man Transporting Women to New Mexico (11/08/2017 @ 22:34:20)

Texas man pleads guilty to transporting woman to New Mexico for prostitution
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – A Texas man pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to transporting a person for the purpose of engaging in prostitution.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents investigated the case.

Markell Quashan Sweargin, 19, of Lubbock, Texas, was arrested in June on a criminal complaint charging him with transporting a person in interstate commerce for the purpose of forcing the person to engage in a commercial sex act. The complaint alleged that on June 14, officers of the Hobbs (New Mexico) Police Department arrested Sweargin on state charges after responding to a domestic disturbance call from a woman, who claimed that Sweargin strangled and assaulted her during an altercation arising from her refusal to engage in a sexual act with another man for money.

According to the criminal complaint, Sweargin, the woman and another person traveled from Lubbock to a hotel in Hobbs, New Mexico. Once in the hotel room, Sweargin attempted to coerce the woman into having sex with other men for money and became angry when she refused.

When Sweargin and the other person left the hotel room, a man came to the room with the expectation of having sex with the woman. After the woman refused to have sex with him, the man departed the room after telling her that he had come in response to an advertisement on a webpage known to advertise prostitution services.

Once Sweargin returned to the hotel room, he was very angry because the woman did not have sex with the man in return for money. He hit her, and blocked the door to the hotel room to prevent her and the third person from leaving. The woman and a third person fled from the room when Sweargin stepped away from the door.

During Thursday’s proceedings, Sweargin pleaded guilty to a felony information charging him with transporting a person across state lines for the purpose of engaging in prostitution. In entering the guilty plea, Sweargin admitted that on June 14, he traveled from Lubbock to Hobbs with the woman with the intention of having her engage in prostitution in New Mexico.

At sentencing, Sweargin faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. Sweargin remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has not been set.

The Hobbs Police Department assisted with the investigation.
https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/texas-man-pleads-guilty-transporting-woman-new-mexico-prostitution

North Texas Child Sex Trafficking (11/08/2017 @ 22:28:24)

North Texas man admits to child sex trafficking
DALLAS — A North Texas man pleaded guilty Oct. 17 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Renee Harris Toliver to one count of conspiracy to commit child sex trafficking.

This guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas. This case was investigated by Fort Worth (Texas) Police Department, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); both are members of the North Texas Trafficking Task Force.

Marquist Fulcher, aka “Keezie,” 28, of Fort Worth, Texas, faces a maximum penalty of up to life in prison and a $250,000 fine. Fulcher will remain in custody pending sentencing which is set for Jan. 31, 2018.

In May 2017, a federal grand jury in Dallas returned an indictment charging Fulcher with conspiracy to engage in child sex trafficking. The following four co-defendants were also charged in this indictment: Chapoleon Fischer, aka “Kidd,” 28, Shatara Armstrong, 31, Marcus Speed, 26, and Tiffany Gideon, 22.

According to plea documents filed in Fulcher’s case, in early 2015, Fulcher began acting as a pimp over Gideon, and eventually several other young girls and women. Specifically, between 2015 and Oct. l, 2016, he facilitated the commercial sex acts of 13-year-old Jane Doe 1, 17-year-old Jane Doe 2, and 17-year-old Jane Doe 4, among others. In late 2015, Armstrong began assisting Fulcher in his prostitution enterprise. Fulcher and Armstrong rented rooms at various hotels for Jane Doe 1, Jane Doe 2 and Jane Doe 4, and others, to use to engage in commercial sex acts. Both Fulcher and Armstrong knew these girls were underage because they told them. Fulcher and Armstrong also created and posted ads on the commercial sex website Backpage.com for the girls and women, who in turn gave to Fulcher the proceeds from their commercial sex acts.

Fulcher also worked with other pimps, including Speed and Fischer, as part of a sex trafficking enterprise. This organization recruited victims in various ways, including finding them on the internet. Members of the group traded girls amongst themselves as well. The pimps in this organization, including Fulcher, used violence and threats of violence as a means to control their victims.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cara Foos Pierce, Myria Boehm and P.J. Meitl, Northern District of Texas, are prosecuting this case.
https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/north-texas-man-admits-child-sex-trafficking

Decency Act Revisited (11/08/2017 @ 22:11:58)

The US Senate Commerce Committee voted unanimously Wednesday to pass legislation that could curb online sex trafficking.

The legislation would amend a section of the Communications Decency Act by including the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, S. 1693. The idea of the new act is to better empower state law enforcement officials to go after websites that enable sex trafficking.

…Online sex trafficking is often perpetuated though sites like Backpage.com, which has classified advertising where people can solicit prostitutes. Many of the people on this website are trafficked women and children, according to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.
http://endsexualexploitation.org/articles/cnet-senate-committee-passes-bill-stop-online-sex-trafficking/

Dirty Dozen (05/30/2016 @ 10:23:39)

Since the 1950s generations of pornography users have grown up watching pornography. During the course of the intervening decades, pornography has become increasingly available and normalized. This should come as no surprise, as pornography users, who often start out as teenagers, grow up to become individuals who work as librarians, law enforcement officers, lawyers, judges, reporters, corporate executives, and Hollywood screen writers, etc. Naturally, the amount and type of pornography they consume eventually colors their judgements, values, and beliefs, and for some, becomes a perspective that is superimposed on their relationships, both private and professional, and ultimately culture writ large. The evidence of this is all around us. From fashion magazines, the offerings of cable television and Internet service providers, popular entertainment, the “sexting” phenomenon, to the local grocery store checkout isle, American culture has been porned and this is unacceptable.
http://endsexualexploitation.org/dirtydozen-2016/

Texas man sentenced 60 years (01/18/2016 @ 22:49:37)

Southeast Texas man sentenced to 60 years in prison for producing child pornography
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A Southeast Texas man was sentenced Thursday to a total of 60 years in prison following his two convictions for producing child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas.

This sentence resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Portland (Texas) Police Department, and Corpus Christi Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Daniel H. Aleman II, 34, of Gregory, Texas, was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Hayden Head to 30 years on each count to be served consecutively for a total of 60 years in federal prison. Aleman will then be on supervised release for the rest of his life, and he must register as a sex offender. Aleman was convicted Oct. 13, 2015 following a one-day bench trial.

Additional information was also presented Jan. 7, including testimony from an HSI special agent. The special agent described the videos Aleman recorded while female customers were changing clothes in the dressing rooms at the Goodwill Store where Aleman worked. One video depicted a woman dressing a girl that the special agent estimated was about 4 years old. The special agent also described the videos of child pornography Aleman possessed, many of which depicted prepubescent girls engaged in sexually explicit conduct with adult males. The court also took into consideration a letter read by a victim in court, the mother of the two girls that Aleman sexually assaulted. In the letter, the mother described the impact the sexual abuse has had on her children.

“This case reveals the disturbing and sobering truth that some adults will go to great lengths to sexually exploit children," said Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of HSI Houston. "While we cannot return the innocence that's been stolen from these children, we can ensure that those who commit these horrible crimes are brought to justice.”
In handing down the 60-year federal prison sentence, Judge Head noted that this kind of behavior cannot be tolerated. “Mr. Aleman, you should never walk the streets again,” he said.

There is no parole in the federal prison system.

At the time of the bench trial, the court heard that in December 2014, officers with the Portland Police Department were dispatched to a local Goodwill Store regarding an employee filming female customers while they were changing clothes in the store’s dressing rooms. A customer reported that a store employee, later identified as Aleman, taped a small video recorder to the corner of a shopping cart. Aleman then positioned the shopping cart under the bottom gap of the dressing room door.

In January 2015, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Aleman’s residence and seized various electronic devices. A forensic analysis on those devices revealed more than 50 videos of child pornography, more than 20 videos of women in dressing rooms, a video of Aleman sexually assaulting an unconscious adult female, and 12 videos of Aleman sexually assaulting two children. The children were identified and confirmed the abuse.

At trial, Aleman did not deny the allegations, only argued that the search was not valid. The court found him guilty as charged.

Aleman was arrested on federal charges in April 2015. He has been in custody since that time where he will remain pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Hugo R. Martinez, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted this case.

In FY2015, HSI agents examined 6.1 petabytes of data, the equivalent of 122 million four-drawer file cabinets filled with text, or 81 years of high-definition video.

This investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 14,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2015, nearly 2,400 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 1,000 victims identified or rescued.
https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/southeast-texas-man-sentenced-60-years-prison-producing-child-pornography