News and Press Releases

Registered Child Sex Offender Sentenced to 15 Years
For Receipt of Child Pornography

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 22, 2014

WILMINGTON, Del. – William Zimmerman, age 64, of Georgetown, Delaware, was sentenced today to 15 years in federal prison for Receipt of Child Pornography, in violation of federal law.  Zimmerman also was sentenced to 10 years of supervised release following his prison sentence.  He also will be required to continue to register as a sex offender in any jurisdiction in which he lives, works, or attends school. 

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. 

According to statements made and documents filed in court, Zimmerman came to the attention of the Delaware Child Predator Task Force (the “Task Force”) during its investigation of  Roger Cordero and David Pennington, two other registered child sex offenders living in Delaware, who had met while incarcerated at the Smyrna Correctional Institution for other child sexual offenses.  In December 2012, the Task Force conducted residential searches at Cordero and Pennington’s residences.  They recovered computers containing thousands of images of child pornography and handwritten stories relating to child sexual abuse from Cordero’s residence, and found a cell phone referencing child pornography images at Pennington’s residence.   

Pennington, who was then wearing an electronic monitoring device due to a state probation violation, provided the Task Force officers with information about Zimmerman, whom Pennington met in sex offender therapy.  In particular, Pennington admitted that he and Zimmerman viewed child pornography together on a computer located at Zimmerman’s residence. They did this  at Zimmerman’s residence because Pennington was on active probation and was prohibited from possessing a computer in his residence.  Pennington also admitted that Zimmerman had sent him cell phone text messages attaching images of 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 over 2,300 images of child pornography.  The images featured children, mostly boys, ranging in age from infancy to mid-teen, who were  posed or engaged in sexual acts with adult males. 

In the spring of 2013, the Delaware Attorney General’s Office referred the Cordero and Zimmerman cases to the United States Attorney’s Office for federal prosecution.  The Delaware Attorney General’s Office proceeded with a state prosecution of David Pennington, which resulted in Pennington being sentenced to 28 years in prison in October 2013.

Following today’s sentencing hearing, United States Attorney Charles M. Oberly, III stated:  “With the active cooperation of State and Federal authorities, three serious child predators have been taken into custody.  Zimmerman and Pennington have pled guilty and received sentences of 15 and 28 years. Cordero is scheduled for trial in June 2014 and faces  a mandatory minimum term of 35-60 years of incarceration if convicted.  These cases serve as an example of what can be achieved through the mutual cooperation of state and federal law enforcement.”

Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden credited the Delaware Child Predator Task Force with identifying all three defendants after receiving a CyberTip in late 2012 from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.  

“These individuals will never again be a threat to children. After receiving a CyberTip the Child Predator Task Force worked quickly to uncover a child pornography network operating locally in our State and took three dangerous predators off the streets. Thanks to its excellent investigation and to our strong partnership with state and federal law enforcement agencies we’re using the full force of the law to protect children.”

“Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents in Wilmington will continue to work tirelessly with our partners of the Delaware Child Predator Task Force and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in bringing child sexual predators to face justice and to ensure that those victims who are identified are rescued from this plight,” said HSI Special Agent in Charge in Philadelphia John P. Kelleghan. “This sentencing is a reminder to those who exploit our most innocent citizens, children: We will identify, investigate and arrest you for committing these horrendous crimes.”
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.  Under this program, the Delaware Attorney General’s Office, the United States Attorney’s Office, the Delaware State Police and the United States Department of Homeland Security have worked together to investigate and prosecute Zimmerman, Cordero and Pennington. 

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.

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