Man Posing as Teen-age Girl Online Sentenced For Sending Child Pornography
Greenbelt, Maryland - Chief U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow sentenced Michael Speelman, age 52, of Adelphi, Maryland, today to 10 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for sending child pornography online. Judge Chasanow also ordered that upon his release from prison Speelman must register as a sex offender where he lives, works or goes to school.
The sentence 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.
According to Speelman’s plea agreement, he assumed the on-line identity of a 16-year old under the name of “Lisa Stauffer” in 2004. Speelman established a romantic relationship with a 15-year old female who lived in Pennsylvania. Speelman obtained nude and sexually explicit digital pictures of the victim and sent the victim pictures purported to be “Lisa.” On March 12, 2006, Speelman feigned the suicide death of “Lisa,” but continued to correspond with the victim pretending to be Lisa’s mother, “Sarah Stauffer.” On June 19, 2006, Speelman, posing as “Sarah,” sent the victim a sexually explicit photo that the victim had sent to “Lisa” and threatened to send the explicit photographs to the victim’s family. In December 2007, the victim told “Sarah” that she was moving on and had a boyfriend. Posing as “Sarah,” Speelman again threatened the victim with sending the explicit photographs.
While online on January 12, 2008, the victim saw an account associated with “Lisa” and started a chat in which Speelman admitted that he had pretended to be “Lisa” and feigned her death to end the relationship with the victim. Using his web camera, Speelman also exposed himself to the victim.
On May 8, 2008, the FBI searched Speelman’s residence and recovered: a photo album and envelope containing printed photos of the victim, including nude photos; CDs containing 28 additional nude images of the victim; and pornographic movie clips, including 22 clips which depict pre-pubescent minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. In addition, agents recovered a CD containing pictures of another female victim between 12-15 years of age, 10 of which are pornographic and apparently self-produced. Agents also recovered 13 grams of marijuana contained in a sandwich baggie and a clear vial.
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.justice.gov/usao/md/Safe-Childhood/index.html.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacy Dawson Belf, who prosecuted the case.