Registered Child Sex Offender Pleads Guilty to
Production and Distribution of Child Pornography
WILMINGTON, Del. – Harry K. Roche, age 43, of Millsboro, Delaware, pled guilty today to Production and Transportation 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.
Roche was previously convicted in Delaware of Using a Computer to Depict a Child Engaging in a Prohibited Sexual Act and Possession of Child Pornography in 2003, which involved Roche producing sexually explicit images of children in his Magnolia, Delaware apartment. In 1994, Roche had been convicted of sexual harassment of a minor boy. At the time of the instant offense, Roche was registered as a sex offender as required by Delaware and federal law.
As a result of his prior convictions, Roche faces enhanced sentencing penalties under federal law, including a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years, and a maximum sentence of 50 years, in prison. Roche also faces a term of supervised release of five years to life following his prison sentence, and he will be required to continue to register as a sex offender in any U.S. jurisdiction in which he lives, works, or attends school. Roche will be sentenced on a date to be determined by United States District Judge Sue L. Robinson.
According to statements made and documents filed in court, Roche came to the attention of the Delaware Child Predator Task Force after it received a cybertip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). The cybertip reported that an AOL user, subsequently identified as Harry K. Roche, a registered child sex offender from Millsboro, Delaware, had distributed files containing child pornography through an AOL server.
On January 31, 2013, Delaware Child Predator Task Force officers executed a state search warrant at Roche’s apartment, which was located above the Bluewater Grill restaurant, in Millsboro, Delaware. Roche and a roommate were present for the search, during which officers seized numerous computers, cellular phones and external digital storage devices. A subsequent forensic examination of that computer equipment revealed that Roche had collected and distributed hundreds of pictures and movies of child pornography, virtually all of which featured prepubescent boys engaged in sexual acts. In a number of these images and movies, the child victims were bound, gagged or blindfolded as they were violently raped by adult males.
Also during the forensic examination of Roche’s iPhone, a forensic examiner discovered a series of photographs of Roche in the bedroom of his residence engaged in a sexual act with a young boy. Metadata associated with the digital files indicated that the images were saved to the iPhone on January 30, 2013, the day before the residential search occurred. The Delaware Child Predator Task Force and the United States Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, worked together to identify the child victim, who resides in Delaware. The investigation further revealed that Roche met the child victim near the Bluewater Grill and subsequently lured the child into his apartment. Roche subsequently distributed the images that he had produced, along with other images of child pornography, to other child sex offenders.
Following the plea hearing, United States Attorney Charles M. Oberly, III stated: “By today’s plea, this twice-convicted sexual predator will be removed from society for likely the remainder of his life. Upon his sentencing later this year, the deserved severe sentence, a minimum mandatory of 25 years, should serve as a deterrent to others that a long prison sentence is the price to pay for engaging in such activity.”
“There is a clear and deeply disturbing link between those who possess child pornography and those who commit physical offenses against children,” Attorney General Beau Biden said. “That’s why the work of the Delaware Child Predator Task Force, along with our close cooperation with federal law enforcement partners, is so critical to finding these dangerous predators and taking them off the streets.”
This case was 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. 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 Roche.
For more information about the Project Safe Childhood Program, 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.