englewood man arrested for production of child pornography and travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct
DENVER – U.S. Attorney John Walsh and FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Thomas Ravenelle announced that Mervin Edy Wolf, age 61, of Englewood, Colorado, was arrested and charged with travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and production of child pornography. Wolf appeared before a U.S. Magistrate Judge on March 6, 2014 for an initial appearance, where he was advised of the charges pending against him, as well as his rights. He is due back in court Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. for a detention hearing and preliminary hearing.
According to the affidavit in support of the Criminal Complaint, Wolf formerly resided in California but moved to Englewood, Colorado with his wife sometime after 1999. Wolf and his wife visited relatives regularly in California, usually for two-week periods at a time. Beginning on or about September of 2007, Wolf began producing pornographic photographs of a minor child who lived in the home of California relatives. Over the next seven years Wolf and his wife would travel to California to visit the same relatives, sometimes up to three times a year. During each of these trips Wolf would force the same minor child to perform and participate in an escalating pattern of sexual acts which Wolf would photograph and or video tape. During several of the molestations, Wolf’s wife and relatives would be in the house unaware of what was happening.
In January 2013, the minor child contacted Wolf via telephone and told him that she was afraid she may be pregnant due to his sexual activity with her. Wolf told the minor child he would pay for an abortion if she was in fact pregnant by Wolf. Wolf mailed two home pregnancy tests to the minor child; after she took the tests and learned she was not pregnant.
When the minor child learned that Wolf was planning to visit California in June 2014, she made the decision to disclose all of the sexual abuse by Wolf. The minor child explained she was afraid Wolf would start molesting her younger sibling. Once the minor child’s family learned of the abuse by Wolf, other family members came forward to also report abuse by Wolf. During the course of the California investigation, it was also learned that Wolf and his wife were foster parents in 2003. Two foster children who were both girls and under the age of seven, both disclosed sexual abuse by Wolf. The allegations were investigated by the Arapahoe County Department of Human Services and the Englewood Police Department. No charges were filed against Wolf. However, due to the allegations, the Wolfs’ foster care license was revoked.
On March 5, 2014, a federal search warrant was executed at the residence of Mervin Wolf in Englewood, Colorado. Minutes before the execution of the search warrant, the minor child contacted Wolf on his cell phone at the direction of the investigating agency in California; the call was recorded. During the call, Wolf confirmed the sexual relationship between him and the minor child. He also confirmed the production of pictures and videos of the sex acts with the minor child. However, Wolf told the minor child that the pictures had been destroyed and no one would find them. During the subsequent search of Wolf’s home, FBI agents seized a 8mm video camera, a digital camera, a camera tripod, and a laptop among other items. Electronic media are currently undergoing forensic examination.
“As this case demonstrates, our society will not tolerate sexual abuse of children,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “In this case, the defendant not only traveled across state lines to sexually exploit a minor child, he also documented that horrible behavior using video recording devices. Prosecuting cases such as this are a priority to protect innocent victims.”
“The FBI and our partners will continue to vigorously investigate all allegations of conduct that exploits and jeopardizes the wellbeing of our children,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Thomas Ravenelle. “We encourage anyone who suspects this type of activity to immediately report their information to law enforcement.”
If convicted of travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, Wolf faces not less than 30 years and up to life in federal prison, as well as up to a $250,000 fine. If convicted of production of child pornography, Wolf faces not less than 15 years and up to 30 years in federal prison, as well as up to a $250,000 fine.
This case was investigated by the FBI with support from the Tehama County Sheriff’s Office. If you have any information about this case contact the Denver FBI at 303-629-7171.
Wolf is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Judith Smith, chief, Special Prosecutions Section, Criminal Division of the Colorado U.S. Attorney’s Office.
A Criminal Complaint is a probable cause charging document. Anyone accused of committing a federal felony crime has a Constitutional right to be indicted by a federal grand jury.
The charges contained in the Complaint are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC 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 PSC, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/ For more information about Internet safety education, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/resources.html and click on the tab "resources."