FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC or
MARCIA MURPHY at 410-209-4885
MARCH 30, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DOCTOR, A FORMER NIH RESEARCHER, SENTENCED TO
4 YEARS FOR POSSESSION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY
Possessed Over 600 Images of Minors Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct,
Including Sadistic Conduct
Greenbelt, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte today sentenced McClellan Walther, age 52, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, a doctor and former researcher at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to four years in prison followed by supervised release for life, for possession of child pornography, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. Judge Messitte also ordered Walther to register as a sex offender and pay a fine of $12,500.
According to the statement of facts presented to the court at his January 4, 2007 plea, in response to advertisements posted on the Internet in 2004 by undercover agents, Walther emailed several times his interest in buying videos of young females with females, young females with males, and “hard core” pre-teen material. In late 2004 and January 2005, Walther emailed his order for seven videos described in child pornography catalogs sent by agents. He used his NIH e-mail account to order several of these videos. Walther sent a postal money order to pay for the videos depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit activity, and on February 23, 2005 a postal inspector delivered the videos to Walther’s residence. A few minutes after the delivery, agents entered the residence and found one video in a VCR and the remaining videos from the opened package. Walther’s home computer was seized, searched, and contained at least one image of a prepubescent minor, over 600 images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and at least one image portraying sadistic conduct.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales launched Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ 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/.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the investigative work performed by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel J. Fortune, who is prosecuting the case.