Maryland Man Pleads Guilty To Traveling Into The District Of Columbia To Engage In Illicit Sexual Conduct With A Minor And Possession Of Child Pornography
WASHINGTON – Akshay Rajashekar, 19, of Salisbury, Md., has pled guilty to federal charges of traveling interstate to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and possession of child pornography, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) announced today.
Rajashekar entered the guilty plea on June 24, 2013, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The Honorable Thomas F. Hogan is to sentence him on Sept. 9, 2013. Rajashekar faces a statutory maximum of 30 years of imprisonment for one count of traveling interstate to engage in illicit sexual conduct and a maximum of 10 years in prison for each of two counts of possession of child pornography, as well as potential financial penalties.
According to the government's evidence, on March 18, 2013, Rajashekar contacted an undercover officer with the FBI's Child Exploitation Task Force, who had posted an ad on a social network site. Over the next few days, the defendant engaged in online e-mail and instant messaging with the undercover officer ,whom the defendant believed was the father of an under-aged girl. During this period of time, Rajashekar arranged with the undercover officer to meet for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts with that child.
During the communications, Rajashekar also sent the undercover officer six images of child pornography. On March 25, 2013, Rajashekar traveled from College Park, Md. to a pre-arranged meeting place in Washington, D.C. When he arrived, he was arrested.
At the time of his arrest, Rajashekar had a pending case in Wicomico County, Md. for possession of child pornography. One of the two child pornography counts in the plea agreement covers that matter, and the Office of the State’s Attorney for Wicomico County Md. has agreed to dismiss the pending case in Wicomico County at the time of the defendant’s sentencing.
This case was brought as part of the Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood initiative and investigated by the FBI's Child Exploitation Task Force, which includes members of the FBI's Washington Field Office and MPD. In February 2006, the Attorney General created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorney's Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
In announcing the guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Machen, Assistant Director Parlave and Chief Lanier praised the work of the MPD Detectives and Special Agents of the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force. They also expressed appreciation for the assistance of Assistant State's Attorney Pamela Correa of the Office of the State’s Attorney for Wicomico County, Md. Finally they commended the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorney Ari Redbord, who is prosecuting the case.