FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC or
MARCIA MURPHY at 410-209-4885
April 15, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
EASTERN SHORE MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO RECEIVING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY
Also Admits to Sexually Exploiting a Child to Produce Child Pornography
Baltimore, Maryland - Todd Patrick Willasch, age 30, of Ridgely, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to receipt of child pornography.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; Colonel Terrence Sheridan, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; Caroline County Sheriff Phillip L. Brown; and Caroline County State’s Attorney Jonathan Newell.
According to the plea agreement, on April 14, 2009, the Maryland State Police in Easton, Maryland executed a search warrant at the residence of Todd Patrick Willasch in the 14000 block of Fox Chase Circle, after receiving information that Willasch had sexually explicit images of a known prepubescent female on his laptop computer. Law enforcement officers seized several computers and external hard drives, removable media, two digital video cameras and two digital cameras from the residence. Forensic analysis of the computers and other items seized from Willasch’s residence revealed approximately 31 sexually explicit images of the child in various positions. The forensic analysis also revealed that the images of the victim were taken with a Kodak Z1275 zoom digital camera, which was one of the digital cameras seized from Willasch’s residence on April 14, 2009. The child depicted in the images advised, in part, that Willasch took at least one of the pictures and told her that it was part of her pre-kindergarten homework. The child was under Willasch’s supervision at the time the photographs were taken.
The forensic analysis revealed an additional 95 images of child pornography, separate and apart from the pictures of Willasch’s victim. Willasch admits receiving the child pornography in 2008. Several of the images of child pornography depicted children under the age of 12 years old and one of the child pornography images portrayed sadistic or masochistic conduct involving a prepubescent female. A number of the pictures of Willasch’s victim mimic other images of child pornography found on his computer, in that she appears to be in similar positions.
As part of his plea agreement, Willasch is required to forfeit his home on Fox Chase Circle, which was used to facilitated the commission of the offense.
Willasch faces a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for receipt of child pornography, followed by supervised release up to life. Willasch remaines detained and U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. has scheduled sentencing for July 9, 2010, at 1:00 p.m.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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 to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov. Details about Maryland’s program are available at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/md/Safe-Childhood/index.html.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Bonnie S. Greenberg, who is prosecuting the case.