FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 24, 2012
For Information Contact:
District Man Sentenced to 27-Month Prison Term
For Travel With the Intent to Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct
WASHINGTON - Robert R. Welch, 43, of Silver Spring, Maryland, has been sentenced to 27 months in prison after pleading guilty to a charge of travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and unlawful possession of methamphetamine, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. and James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, announced today.
Welch pled guilty in October 2011 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He was sentenced on February 21, 2012 by the Honorable James E. Boasberg. Upon completion of his prison term, Welch will be placed on five years of supervised release. His supervision will include numerous limitations and requirements, including registration and treatment as a sex offender, and limitations on access to and contact with minors, computers, and the Internet.
According to a statement of offense filed with the Court by the government, on April 27, 2011, an undercover officer with the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force entered a social networking site and engaged in an online conversation with Welch in which Welch expressed interest in having sexual contact with an under-aged child. In that conversation and a subsequent telephone call, Welch also discussed plans for meeting the child and using methamphetamine with the child. Finally, on April 28, 2011, Welch traveled from Maryland to a pre-arranged meeting place in Washington, D.C. When he arrived at the meeting place, he was arrested. An amount of methamphetamine was recovered in his vehicle.
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.
Project Safe Childhood is a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen and Assistant Director in Charge McJunkin praised the MPD Detectives and Special Agents of the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force. They also commended Assistant U.S. Attorney Cassidy Kesler Pinegar, who investigated and prosecuted the case.