FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC or
MARCIA MURPHY at 410-209-4885
SEPTEMBER 12, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
EASTERN SHORE MAN SENTENCED TO 30 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR SEXUAL ABUSE OF A MINOR TO PRODUCE CHILD PORNOGRAPHY
Investigation That Began in Australia Leads to Maryland Arrest
Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced Roderick Gene Parks, age 42, of Berlin, Maryland, today to 30 years in prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release for sexually exploiting a minor to produce child pornography, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. Judge Blake also ordered that Parks must register as a sex offender upon his release from prison and may have no contact with minors.
“This case is a remarkable example of how international cooperation among law enforcement agencies can stop the production of child pornography throughout the world,” said United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “Thanks to the Australian Federal Police and American federal and local authorities, a child was rescued from further abuse and Roderick Parks will spend 30 years in federal prison without parole.”
According to court documents, on November 7, 2006, an unidentified man produced and sent over the internet, using a web camera, images of himself sexually molesting an 11 year old boy from his home. The images were broadcast live on ANYwebcam.com, an Australian webcam chat site. On November 8, 2006, after receiving a viewer’s complaint about the assault, ANYwebcam.com provided screen captures of the live broadcast showing the assault to the Australian Federal Police, Online Child Sex Exploitation Team. ANYwebcam.com also provided the Australian Federal Police with the logon time, date, IP address, and a profile from the man’s user account that included his photograph, and the fact that he resided in Berlin, Maryland. The Australian Federal Police determined that the IP address was assigned to a provider in Reston, Virginia.
The Australian Federal Police forwarded this information to the ICE Cyber Crimes Center in Fairfax, Virginia, which participates in the Virtual Global Task Force along with the Australian High Tech Crime Centre, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre in the United Kingdom, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Interpol. The Virtual Global Task Force was established in December of 2003 to build an effective, international partnership of law enforcement agencies to protect children from online child abuse.
The ICE Cyber Crimes Center in turn forwarded the information to the Baltimore ICE office. ICE verified through further investigation that Parks was the man who sent images of himself molesting the boy. ICE, with the assistance of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Berlin City Police Department and the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation arrested Parks on December 1, 2006. The minor boy was in the custody of Parks, who was watching him after school while his mother worked. The boy and his mother had been living with Parks since August 2006.
At today’s sentencing hearing, the Judge rejected the defendant’s argument that he should receive a downward departure in his sentence because he has Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and granted the Government’s motion for an upward departure on the grounds that the defendant engaged in extreme conduct. As a result, Parks received the maximum sentence under the statute, 30 years.
This case is being 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 file://www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; the Australian Federal Police, Online Child Sex Exploitation Team; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Berlin Police Department; Worcester County Bureau of Investigations; Worcester County Department of Social Services; the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police and the Ocean City Police Department for their investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein commended Worcester County State’s Attorney Joel Todd for the cooperation provided by his office. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bonnie S. Greenberg and Tonya Kelly Kowitz, who prosecuted the case.