FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC or
MARCIA MURPHY at 410-209-4885
FEBRUARY 9, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ELKTON MAN SENTENCED TO 14 YEARS IN PRISON FOR
RECEIVING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY
Sexually Abused and Exploited a Minor
BALTIMORE, Maryland - Ernie Preston Hancock, age 48, of Elkton, Maryland, was sentenced today to 14 years in prison followed by supervised release for life for receiving child pornography, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. Chief U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg enhanced Hancock’s sentence based on his admitted sexual abuse of a minor. Chief Judge Legg also ordered that Hancock not have access to the internet or a computer while on supervised release, unless pre-approved, and must register as a sex offender upon his release from prison.
U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said "As a result of law enforcement cooperation under the Project Safe Childhood program, sexual predators are being brought to justice and removed from society for many years.”
According to his plea agreement, law enforcement officers searched Hancock’s home on March 28, 2005 and recovered a computer hard drive containing 131 images of child pornography. Hancock acknowledged that he knew the images were of actual children under the age of 18 and that at least one of the images involved a minor under the age of 12.
Hancock also admitted that beginning in 2003, he sexually abused and exploited a minor. The victim, who was 13 years old when the abuse began, was a friend of Hancock’s son and would often visit their home. The victim also traveled with Hancock to his job in Bear, Delaware, and Hancock engaged in sexual conduct with the victim on several of those encounters.
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 Attorney’s 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 commended the investigative work performed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Elkton Police Department. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Kwame J. Manley, who is prosecuting the case.