Registered Child Sex Offender Pleads Guilty to
Receipt of Child Pornography
WILMINGTON, Del. – William Zimmerman, age 64, of Georgetown, Delaware, pled guilty today to Receipt of Child Pornography, in violation of federal law. Charles M. Oberly, III, United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced the guilty plea following a hearing in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware.
Zimmerman was previously convicted in Delaware of Unlawful Sexual Contact Second Degree in 1988 and Possession of Child Pornography in 1993. He served 4 years in prison for the child pornography offense, and was released from custody in 1997. At the time of the instant offense, he was registered as a sex offender as required by Delaware and federal law.
As a result of his prior convictions, Zimmerman faces enhanced sentencing penalties under federal law, including a mandatory minimum sentence of fifteen years, and a maximum sentence of forty years, in prison. Zimmerman also faces a term of supervised release of five years to life following his prison sentence, and he will be required to register as a sex offender in any U.S. jurisdiction in which he lives, works, or attends school. Zimmerman will be sentenced on April 22, 2014 by Chief United States District Judge Gregory M. Sleet.
According to statements made and documents filed in court, Zimmerman came to the attention of the Delaware Child Predator Task Force (the “Task Force”) after it began an investigation into two other registered child sex offenders living in Delaware. That investigation began in October 2012, after the Task Force received a cybertip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). The cybertip reported that an AOL user, subsequently identified as Roger Cordero, a registered child sex offender from New Castle, Delaware, had uploaded files containing child pornography through an AOL server.
On December 20, 2012, Task Force officers executed a state search warrant at Roger Cordero’s New Castle residence, where they found computers containing thousands of images of child pornography featuring mostly prepubescent and adolescent children. They also found that Cordero had been trading child pornography with David Pennington, another registered child sex offender whom Cordero had met while both were incarcerated in the Smyrna Correctional Institution for child sex offenses. The men shared the images of child pornography by mailing digital photographs saved to thumb drives back and forth to one another.
Later on the day of December 20, 2012, Task Force officers executed a state search warrant at Pennington’s Georgetown residence. Pennington, who was then wearing an electronic monitoring device due to a state probation violation, was present for the search. During the search, Task Force members recovered evidence relating to the mailing of child pornography and child sexual abuse stories between Pennington and Cordero. A Delaware State Police forensic examiner also recovered from Pennington’s cell phone two images of child pornography and related text messages between Pennington and Zimmerman. The images depicted a prepubescent boy engaged in a sex act with an adult male. During a January 2013 interview with Task Force detectives, Pennington told investigators that he received the two images of child pornography found on his cell phone from Zimmerman, whom Pennington had met in a child sex offender therapy group. Pennington also told investigators that he would go to Zimmerman’s house, where Zimmerman had a computer that they used to access child pornography.
On January 8, 2013, Task Force officers executed a state search warrant at Zimmerman’s Georgetown residence. They recovered several pieces of computer equipment found to contain hundreds of images of child pornography. The images featured children ranging in age from infancy to mid-teen being posed or engaged in sexual acts with adult males.
As intended by the United States Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood Program, federal and state child exploitation prosecutors and investigators have worked together to investigate and prosecute Zimmerman, Cordero and Pennington. On October 11, 2013, David Pennington was sentenced to 28 years in prison by Delaware Superior Court Judge T. Henley Graves after pleading guilty to Dealing in Child Pornography, in violation of Delaware law. On June 13, 2013, a federal grand jury indicted Roger Cordero on various child pornography crimes, including production, transportation, receipt and possession of child pornography, in violation of federal law. If convicted of the most serious charges, Cordero faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 35 years in prison, to a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison. Cordero’s case remains pending before the United States District Court for the District of Delaware.
All three cases were brought as part of the United States Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood Program, which was launched in May 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of online child sexual exploitation and abuse. Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue child victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/. For more information about reporting online child exploitation to the national CyberTipline, visit the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s website at: www.missingkids.com.This case is being investigated by the Delaware Child Predator Task Force and the United States Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Edward J. McAndrew.