Former Hagerstown Man Pleads Guilty to Sexually Abusing a Child to Produce Child Pornography
Baltimore, Maryland -Thomas Leroy Griffin, Jr., age 32, formerly of Hagerstown and Rosedale, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to sexually abusing a child to produce child pornography.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Washington County Sheriff Douglas W. Mullendore; and Washington County State’s Attorney Charles P. Strong.
According to the plea agreement, on at least five occasions from the time the victim was five or six years old, until August 2010, Griffin engaged in sexually explicit conduct with a female child under the age of 12, in order to produce a visual depiction of that conduct. On December 15, 2010, the victim’s mother discovered a video tape documenting Griffin’s sexual abuse of the child.
As part of his plea agreement, Griffin must register as a sex offender in the place where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).
As part of the plea agreement, Griffin and the government have agreed that if the Court accepts the plea agreement Griffin will be sentenced to 30 years in prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett has scheduled sentencing for January 20, 2012 at 4:00 p.m. Griffin remains detained.
Griffin has also agreed to plead guilty to the charge of sexual abuse of a minor, now pending against him in Washington County Circuit Court. The Washington County State’s Attorney’s Office will recommend a 30 year sentence to be served concurrent to his federal sentence.
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 www.justice.gov/usao/md/Safe-Childhood/index.html.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers. ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or its online tip form at http://www.ice.gov/exec/forms/hsi-tips/tips.asp. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the ICE Homeland Security Investigations, Washington County Sheriff's Office and the Washington County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in this investigation and prosecution. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Judson T. Mihok, who prosecuted the case.