Project Safe Childhood is a unified and comprehensive strategy to combat child exploitation. Initiated in May, 2006, by the Department of Justice, Project Safe Childhood combines law enforcement efforts, community action, and public awareness. The goal of Project Safe Childhood is to reduce the incidence of sexual exploitation of children. There are five essential components to Project Safe Childhood: (1) building partnerships; (2) coordinating law enforcement; (3) training PSC partners; (4) public awareness; and (5) accountability.
Unfortunately, the threat against our children is growing. In February 2010, the Department, working with the National Drug Intelligence Center, completed a year long and first of its kind threat assessment of the magnitude of child exploitation. The result of this assessment reports a disturbing trend showing increases, and in some instances significant increases, in all types of child sexual exploitation, including: (1) child pornography; (2) online enticement of children for sexual purposes; (3) commercial sexual exploitation of children; and (4) child sex tourism.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee is committed to the safety and well-being of our children and has placed a high priority on protecting and combating sexual exploitation of minors. Recently we received an additional position to help prosecute these crimes in our District. Some examples of the types of cases brought by our office through the Project Safe Childhood initiative include:
- Jonathan Mendheim, 35, of Indianapolis, Ind., was sentenced by the Honorable Leon Jordan, Senior U.S. District Judge, to serve 60 months in prison for receipt and possession of child pornography. Upon his release from prison he will be under supervised release for 20 years. Additionally, he was ordered to pay $3500 in restitution to the victims.
- Crystal Renee Dawn Poore, 32, of Elizabethton, Tenn., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Greeneville, to three counts of production of child pornography.
- James Amos Parker, 47, of Alcoa, Tenn., was sentenced to serve 120 months in prison by the Honorable Danny C. Reeves, U.S. District Judge. Parker pleaded guilty in February 2014 to a federal grand jury indictment charging him with attempting to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity using a computer in interstate commerce.
- Kelly Louise Fitzmaurice, 34, of Pigeon Forge, Tenn., was sentenced by the Honorable Thomas A. Varlan, Chief U.S. District Judge, to serve 151 months in prison for child pornography offenses. Fitzmaurice pleaded guilty in February 2014 to a federal indictment charging her with possession and distribution of child pornography.
For more information about the Project Safe Childhood Program please visit http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
Recent PSC cases: