States Attorney's Office District of Connecticut
|June 3, 2011||
Operation Constant Vigilance:
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that a federal grand jury sitting in New Haven has returned an indictment charging THOMAS E. STICKLE, 39, formerly of Torrington and last residing in Hartford, with one count of receipt and distribution of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. The indictment was returned on May 24, 2011, and was unsealed today during STICKLE’s arraignment before United States Magistrate Judge Holly B. Fitzsimmons in Bridgeport.
The indictment alleges that, from December 2010 to May 2010, STICKLE received and distributed images of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. The indictment further alleges that, on approximately May 20, 2010, STICKLE possessed additional images of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
STICKLE has been detained in state custody since his arrest on May 21, 2010, for violating the terms of his probation in connection with a prior Connecticut state conviction for possession of child pornography.
If convicted of the charge of receipt and distribution of child pornography, STICKLE faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 15 years, a maximum term of imprisonment of 40 years and a fine of up to $250,000. If convicted of the charge of possession of child pornography, STICKLE faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years, a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000. The penalties in this matter are enhanced based on STICKLE’s prior state conviction for possession of child pornography.
U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is being investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) and the Connecticut State Police. The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Neeraj Patel.
This prosecution is part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood Initiative, and the District of Connecticut’s “Operation Constant Vigilance,” which are aimed at protecting children from sexual abuse and exploitation. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
To report cases of child exploitation, please visit www.cybertipline.com.
U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
Department of Justice
Project Safe Neighborhoods