FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
TUESDAY - December 16, 2008
RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court here today TRAVIS EDWARD DITTRICH, 38, of Rocky Point, North Carolina, pled guilty before United States District Judge James C. Dever, III, to 15 counts of receipt of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. On June 14, 2006, deputies with the Pender and Bladen County Sheriff’s Offices executed a search warrant at DITTRICH’s residence for the illegal copying of DVD movies. In state court, DITTRICH pled guilty to possession of counterfeit materials and as part of this plea was required to forfeit his computer to the Pender County Sheriff’s Department. In December, 2006, while working on the case, well over 6,000 pictures were discovered depicting adult males having various types of sex with prepubescent females, as well as material that portrayed sadistic or masochistic conduct. Further investigation revealed over 400 additional pictures of child pornography. A Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Indictment on August 21, 2008.
“Nowadays most people lock the doors to their houses and automobiles to protect against predators. The Internet has become another area where we must keep a strong vigilance to protect ourselves and, in particular, our children against these predators. To assist in this protection, please remain aware of your children’s activities on the Internet. It cannot be said too often; maintain the computer your child is using in a community area of the home and be suspicious if your child quickly closes or minimizes the screen when you walk into the area,” warned Mr. Holding.
The maximum penalty for receipt of child pornography is up to 20 years imprisonment followed by up to a lifetime of supervised and a fine of up to $250,000. If the defendant has a prior conviction under the laws of any state relating to sexual abuse or the production, possession, receipt, mailing, sale, distribution, shipment or transportation of child pornography, the maximum penalty is up to 40 years imprisonment and/or $250,000 fine, and supervised release of up to life. For the possession charge, the maximum penalty is up to 10 years imprisonment followed by up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. If the defendant has a prior conviction under the laws of any state relating to sexual abuse or the production, possession, receipt, mailing, sale, distribution, shipment or transportation of child pornography, the maximum penalty is up to 20 years imprisonment and/or $250,000 fine, and supervised release of up to life.
Sentencing is set for the March 23, 2008 term of court.
This case is part of the Project Safe Childhood initiative, a national program aimed at ensuring that criminals exploiting children are effectively prosecuted by making full use of all available law enforcement resources at every level. For more information about this important national project, Project Safe Childhood, go to www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
Investigation of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pender County Sheriff’s Department and the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Ethan Ontjes served as prosecutor for the government.