Columbia Man Pleads Guilty to Possession of Child Pornography
Baltimore, Maryland - Victor William Kunst, Jr., age 57, of Columbia, Maryland pleaded guilty today to possession of child pornography, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
According to the statement of facts, in April 2006 Kunst purchased a subscription to a child pornography website. Kunst was identified in January 2007 after ICE agents obtained the records of a credit card processor through which the subscriptions to the child pornography website were processed.
During a search of Kunst’s home on September 4, 2007, Howard County police officers recovered, among other things, a desktop computer, nine pieces of removable media, a password list for numerous listed websites, and removable media in envelopes. Forensic analysis of the computer and removable media revealed over 5,000 still images of suspected child pornography and over 200 moving digital images of suspected child pornography, including images of prepubescent children involved in sexual activity and child pornography images which involved sadistic or masochistic conduct.
Law enforcement records revealed that Kunst was convicted on November 22, 2002 in Howard County Circuit Court for sexual child abuse and was sentenced to three years, all suspended, and three years supervised probation. Kunst’s probation period had been extended, and expired on November 22, 2007. Kunst is also a registered sex offender on the Maryland Sex Offender Registry website.
"This case is an example of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's commitment to proactively investigate those who prey upon children, stated Special Agent in Charge James A. Dinkins."
Kunst faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum of 20 years in prison for possession of child pornography, followed by supervised release for life. U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake has scheduled sentencing for July 24, 2008 at 9:15 a.m.
This case was brought as part of 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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov. Details about Maryland’s program are available at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/md/Safe-Childhood/index.html.
This is the third case in the last two weeks where, because of a previous state conviction for a sexual offense involving a child or children, the defendant faces an enhanced minimum mandatory sentence of ten years in prison. On May 15 and 16, respectively, Richard David Morris, age 25, of Reisterstown, Maryland, and Thomas Cargill, age 42, formerly of Hollywood, Maryland pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography. Morris had been previously convicted in state court for sexual abuse of a minor and Cargill had a previous conviction in St. Mary’s County, Maryland for possessing child pornography.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Howard County Police Department and Howard County State’s Attorney Dario Broccolino and his office for their assistance in the investigation and prosecution of this case. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Bonnie S. Greenberg, who is prosecuting the case.