Theodore J. Castine Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Helena, on May 9, 2012, before Senior U.S. District Judge Charles C. Lovell, THEODORE J. CASTINE, a 54-year-old resident of Moorseville, North Carolina, pled guilty to (2) counts of sexual exploitation of children. Sentencing has been set for September 27, 2012. He is currently detained.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcia K. Hurd, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
On September 15, 2011, the Helena Police Department received a report from a 14-year-old female that she had been receiving threatening and harassing text messages from a cell phone number. During the course of the investigation, the girl indicated she had been contacted by an unknown subject via Facebook asking to exchange "bikini" pictures. The subject provided the same cell phone number daring her to send pictures because the subject told the girl she was "hot." The girl told officers that a couple of text messages she received from the subject contained photographs of two different young girls, naked and exposing their genitalia in a lewd and lascivious manner. The girl said the subject was demanding photographs in the same fashion to be sent via picture messaging.
The girl indicated that the subject began harassing her about sending nude photographs of herself, including that if she did not send naked photographs, like those that had been sent to her instructing her how to pose, the subject indicated he was going to find the girl and she would not like what was going to happen when the subject found her. The girl said she felt compelled and was fearful if she refused the orders of the subject sending her the messages. The girl took two naked photographs of herself posing in a lascivious exhibition of her genitals and sent them via her cell phone to the subject.
Law enforcement took over the girl's accounts and found the messages. On the girl's phone, detectives found the two text messages sent to the girl including photographs of juvenile females; both images sent by the subject are child pornography.
Detectives continued communication with the subject pretending to be the girl. The subject threatened to share the photos the girl sent initially by posting them on the Internet, demanded more photos, and sent more child pornography photos. Detectives sent corrupt files through interstate commerce to the subject. The subject indicated he was having difficulty viewing those images and demanded the girl use a friend's cell phone to take more photographs.
The subject was finally identified as CASTINE of Mooresville, North Carolina. CASTINE continued to text and email the girl's accounts threatening to post the images unless she provided more.
On October 7, 2011, CASTINE emailed her three threatening emails, ending with "Your friends will get them if you don't send more. Now."
On October 10, CASTINE emailed the girl, saying "hey, now [name withheld] can see your pix. I will so you better send. I can show his friends too. send today." The message had four attachments which were four photographs apparently taken from the girl's Facebook page which had the girl and a young male giving the impression they were a couple.
On October 18, 2011, CASTINE was arrested in North Carolina and confessed.
While looking through the over 350,000 pictures of images that could possibly be child pornography in this case after the forensic examination, detectives found a picture of another Helena girl in CASTINE's Hotmail account. The girl was briefly interviewed and detailed the same scam that CASTINE used on the first victim. She was forensically interviewed in Helena, and repeated the same pattern of contact by CASTINE, harassment for naked photos of herself at age 15 in the same September-October 2011 time frame. The girl finally sent CASTINE a picture of herself naked and standing sideways.
CASTINE faces possible penalties of a mandatory minimum 15 years in prison and could be sentenced to 30 years, a $250,000 fine, and lifetime supervision on each count.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Montana Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force and the North Carolina Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.