Clinton Man Pleads Guilty to Receipt and Possession Of Child Pornography
Greenbelt, Maryland - Ralph Walls, age 60, of Clinton, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to receipt and possession of child pornography, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
According to his plea agreement, on May 9, 2008, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent in Shreveport, Louisiana, used file sharing software to conduct a search using a term associated with visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The agent found that a computer, later determined to belong to Ralph Walls, was sharing approximately 207 files associated with the search term. The agent downloaded at least 36 images documenting the sexual abuse of minors from Walls’ computer. On December 16, 2008, ICE agents, with the assistance of inspectors from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, executed a search warrant at Walls’ home and seized a hard drive and CDs, DVDs, and video and audio tapes. Agents found at least 15 video files and five images of child pornography on Walls computer. In addition, on December 6, 2008, Walls had downloaded an image documenting the sexual abuse of a minor female with an adult male. Agents also located file sharing software on the computer and a list of search terms indicative of a user searching for images that contain minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
Walls faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for receipt of child pornography and a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for possession of child pornography, followed by supervised release up to life. U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow scheduled sentencing for November 9, 2009 at 10:00 a.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 praised U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for their investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Christen A. Sproule, who is prosecuting the case.