FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
For Information Contact:
Maryland Man Pleads Guilty to Traveling
To Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct With a Minor
And Possession of Child Pornography
WASHINGTON – Thomas DeGrange, 27, formerly of Frederick, Md., pled guilty today to federal charges of traveling interstate to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and possession of child pornography, announced 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).
DeGrange pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The Honorable Beryl A. Howell scheduled sentencing for Feb. 13, 2014. DeGrange faces a statutory maximum of 30 years in prison for traveling interstate to engage in illicit sexual conduct and a maximum of 20 years for possession of child pornography, as well as potential fines.
According to the government's evidence, on May 3, 2013, DeGrange began a series of online communications with a man who he believed had a sexual interest in children. The man was actually an undercover officer with the FBI's Child Exploitation Task Force, posing as the father of an under-aged girl. Over the next several days, DeGrange expressed interest in engaging in sexual acts with the undercover officer’s purported daughter. DeGrange also sent the undercover officer several images depicting child pornography. On May 7, 2013, DeGrange traveled from Maryland to a pre-arranged meeting place in Washington, D.C., for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity with the girl. When he arrived, he was arrested.
A search by law enforcement of the defendant’s home led to the discovery of a computer containing two videos depicting child pornography, 23 images depicting child pornography and other evidence of child pornography.
The defendant’s plea agreement resolved other potential federal charges in the District of Columbia and the District of Maryland.
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 plea, U.S. Attorney Machen, Assistant Director Parlave and Chief Lanier praised the work of the MPD Detectives and Special Agent of the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force. They also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland. Finally, they commended the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorney Cassidy Kesler Pinegar, who prosecuted the case.