News and Press Releases

Philadelphia Man Sentenced to 96 Months in Prison for Transportation of Child Pornography

February 23, 2012

WILMINGTON, Del. - Kenneth Houck, age 36, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was sentenced today to 97 months in prison for transportation of child pornography, in violation of federal law. Houck also was sentenced to five years of supervised release following his prison sentence. He also will be required to register as a sex offender in any jurisdiction in which he lives, works, or attends school. United States Attorney Charles M. Oberly, III made the announcement following the sentencing hearing before Chief United States District Judge Gregory M. Sleet.

According to statements made at today’s hearing and documents filed in court, Houck was identified by agents from the United States Department of Homeland Security during an online investigation into a computer network devoted to trading images of child pornography. In January 2011, an undercover agent located in Delaware downloaded twenty three files depicting child pornography that Houck had made available to network members. During online chats with the undercover agent between January 28, 2011 and February 13, 2011, Houck stated that he hosted parties at his Philadelphia residence devoted to viewing child pornography and using narcotics. Houck also claimed in the chats to have molested young boys in the past, and expressed interest in meeting the undercover agent to molest boys in the future.

The investigation has not been able to substantiate any cases of actual sexual abuse of children by Houck, but if such evidence is found, he could be prosecuted. Any member of the public having information relating to this matter should report it to the Department of Homeland Security’s Victim Assistance Line at 215-717-4987.

Law enforcement agents executed a search warrant at Houck’s Philadelphia residence on February 23, 2011. Upon entering the residence, agents observed a computer that was logged into the child pornography trafficking network. A forensic analysis of the computer confirmed the presence of approximately 6,470 still images of child pornography, including depictions of adolescent and prepubescent children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The children depicted were predominantly males, ranging in age from teens to infants. A number of the images depict bondage and violence, including forcible rapes of prepubescent children by adult males.

Following the sentencing hearing, United States Attorney Charles M. Oberly, III stated, “Prolific traders of hardcore child pornography like Mr. Houck should expect that they will come to the attention of law enforcement agencies. Once identified, they will be prosecuted and their sentences will reflect the seriousness of their crimes.”

“Sexual predators are exploiting and abusing our children for their own personal gratification,” said John P. Kelleghan, special agent in charge of HSI in Philadelphia. “Today’s sentencing underscores the fact that HSI and our law enforcement partners will not tolerate this behavior and will use every tool at our disposal to stop them in their tracks.

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