Former Anne Arundel County Police Lieutenant Pleads Guilty to Receiving Child Pornography from a Minor with Whom He Had a Sexual Relationship
Case Should “Send a Wake Up Call” to Parents
to Monitor Children’s Electronic Communications
Baltimore, Maryland - James Cifala, age 47, of Edgewater, Maryland, formerly a lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department, pleaded guilty today to receiving child pornography.
The guilty plea 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.
“James Cifala was a sworn law enforcement officer who 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.”
According to Cifala’s plea agreement, between 2007 and 2009 Cifala spoke with a young teenage girl about having sex, but told her that they had to wait until she was 16 years old because she had to earn his trust that she would not tell others. Cifala is 30 years older than the victim.
Cifala stayed in contact with the victim by computer using a social networking site and by cell phones. They began exchanging text messages in 2009. Cifala eventually acquired a pre-paid cell phone for the exclusive purpose of sending texts and receiving photos from the victim. Over 1,300 contacts were made between Cifala and the victim over just three weeks, from August 14 to September 6, 2009. Most of the contacts were text messages and many were sexually graphic. Between May and July of 2009, Cifala asked the victim to take and send to his cell phones over 10 photos of the victim engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Cifala used these cell phones and social networking site profiles to arrange sexual encounters with the victim in 2009.
On January 20, 2010 law enforcement executed a search warrant at Cifala’s house and seized computers and digital storage media, that were used to search for and download child pornography and which contained over 10 additional images of child pornography.
As part of the plea agreement, Cifala and the government have agreed that if the Court accepts the plea agreement, Cifala will be sentenced to 60 months in prison. U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake has scheduled sentencing for December 21, 2010 at 2:00 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 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 Rosenstein expressed his appreciation to Anne Arundel County Chief of Police James Teare, Sr. and his officers for their cooperation and assistance in the investigation.
Mr. Rosenstein commended the FBI for their investigative work and thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Judson T. Mihok, who is prosecuting the case.