Anne Arundel County Police Lieutenant Charged with Federal Child Pornography Crime
Case Should “Send a Wake Up Call” to Parents to Monitor Children’s Electronic Communications
Baltimore, Maryland - James Cifala, age 47, of Edgewater, Maryland, a lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department, was arrested today and charged with a federal child pornography crime. The criminal complaint was unsealed today at Cifala’s initial appearance in federal court. Cifala was arrested by FBI agents at the Anne Arundel County police station on Wednesday night.
The charge was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Mr. Rosenstein and Mr. McFeely expressed their appreciation to Anne Arundel County Chief of Police James Teare, Sr. and his officers for their cooperation and assistance in the investigation.
“The complaint alleges that a sworn law enforcement officer violated his oath in an egregious manner by engaging in a relationship with a child who was more than 30 years younger,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “While condemning such conduct, we should acknowledge the many devoted law enforcement officers who work honorably every day to protect us.”
Mr. Rosenstein added, “I hope this case will send a wake up call to parents about the need to monitor their children’s use of cellular telephones and other communication devices.”
“This case is particularly disturbing because it involves an individual who had a professional duty of protecting our children. The criminal complaint alleges that he violated his oath to protect and serve his community,” said Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, parents of a teenage girl contacted the FBI to report their concerns that their daughter was involved in a sexual relationship with an adult male. The affidavit alleges that FBI agents recovered sexually explicit text message conversations between the girl and “Johnny,” who has been identified as James Cifala. Images and text messages recovered from the minor female’s cell phone allegedly show that Cifala exchanged sexually explicit text messages with the girl and that she transmitted sexually explicit pictures of herself to Cifala’s cell phone at his request.
The affidavit also states that FBI agents conducted a search warrant of Cifala’s home on January 20, 2010 and observed furnishings that allegedly match the background of a sexually explicit photograph Cifala sent to the girl.
The affidavit alleges that there were more than 1,300 contacts between Cifala’s cellular telephone and the girl’s cellular telephone over just three weeks in the summer of 2009.
Cifala faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, followed by supervised release up to life on the child pornography charge. Cifala had an initial appearance today in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. Cifala is being held in federal custody. A detention hearing has been scheduled for January 22, 2010 at 3:00 p.m.
A criminal complaint is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by criminal complaint is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceeding.
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 the United States Attorney’s Office and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to 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 www.justice.gov/usao/md/Safe-Childhood/index.html.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Judson T. Mihok, who is prosecuting the case.