Dundalk Woman Pleads Guilty to Distribution of Child Pornography
Quick Work by FBI Saved a Child from Being Sexually Exploited
Baltimore, Maryland - Michelle Lynn Smith, age 32, of Dundalk, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to distribution of child pornography, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
“The FBI worked quickly in response to a tip from a cooperating witness and was able to put a stop to Michelle Smith’s sexual exploitation of a child,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein.
According to Smith’s plea agreement, while text messaging with a cooperating witness in April 2009, Smith offered a minor child to the individual for sex. The cooperating witness contacted the FBI, and agents reviewed the messages and saw photographs that Smith had sent to the cooperating witness on April 29, 2009, of sexually explicit conduct. The cooperating witness agreed to have an FBI agent pose as the cooperating witness in order to continue the conversations with Smith. Special agents assumed the cooperating witness’s identity and Smith continued to talk about the minor in sexually explicit terms. In addition to the text messages, on May 5, 2009, Smith sent the undercover agent photographs of the minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Smith also admitted that she sent these same photographs to an adult male in Tennessee using her cellular phone.
Smith faces a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for distribution of child pornography, followed by supervised release up to life. Smith is detained and U.S. District Judge William M. Nickerson has scheduled sentencing for February 11, 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 the Federal Bureau of Investigation for its investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Solette Magnelli and Paul E. Budlow, who are prosecuting the case.