Maryland Awarded New Federal Prosecutor To Pursue Child Exploitation Cases

Maryland’s “Project Safe Childhood” Program Continues to Expand

May 7, 2008

Baltimore, Maryland - The United States Department of Justice today announced that a new Assistant U.S. Attorney position will be created in Maryland as part of the Project Safe Childhood, an initiative to combat sexual exploitation of children. The new federal prosecutor will expand federal efforts to combat child pornography and sexual exploitation of children over the Internet.

“Maryland’s Project Safe Childhood program aims to catch pedophiles who abuse children and disseminate child pornography, and to warn parents about the dangers children face on the internet,” said United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein.

The goals and strategies of Maryland’s Project Safe Childhood program are described in detail on the internet at Maryland’s Project Safe Childhood Task Force, which holds bi-monthly meetings, includes participants from State’s Attorneys’ Offices, the Attorney General’s Office, the Maryland State Police, sheriffs’ offices and police departments from around the state, along with the FBI, the Postal Inspection Service, ICE and the Secret Service. Federal prosecutors also travel around the state to meet with prosecutors and investigators and coordinate state, local and federal efforts.

Local prosecutors and police have increased referrals to federal prosecutors of cases involving repeat offenders, cases where the federal penalties are more severe than the state penalties, and cases where federal child pornography laws can be used to prosecute child abusers, thereby avoiding the need for child victims to take the witness stand.

Notable prosecutions include a 50 year sentence for a Western Maryland man who made tapes of his sexual exploitation of a mentally disabled child, a 30 year sentence for an Eastern Shore man with AIDs who sexually exploited a minor to produce child pornography, a 25 year sentence for a Baltimore repeat offender who produced child pornography and a 15 year sentence for a U.S. Capitol Police Officer who produced child pornography in Southern Maryland.

The Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office has had a longstanding commitment to prosecute crimes against children, and has developed a number of innovative and aggressive strategies to deal with the problem. For example, the Office worked with the FBI to establish the Innocent Images program in 1995.

More recently, the U.S. Attorney’s Office developed and charged the first “John Doe” case, in which an unidentified child pornography producer was indicted based upon an on-line image and his picture was then put on “America’s Most Wanted,” resulting in an identification.

In 2005, Maryland’s highest court ruled that state law did not apply to sting operations. The U.S. Attorney’s Office then successfully prosecuted state sting cases in federal court.

Last year, we successfully brought a failure to register case under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2250, and obtained a ruling upholding the law.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bonnie S. Greenberg and Michele Sartori, Acting Administrative Officer Steven Hess and Paralegal Angela Strause, who have led Maryland’s Project Safe Childhood program.



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