FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
TUESDAY - September 9, 2008
NEW BERN MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGE
RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court here today RALPH JOSEPH CLOS, 64, of New Bern, North Carolina, entered his guilty plea before United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle to receipt of child pornography, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2252(1)(2).
A Criminal Information was filed on August 15, 2008. In June, 2006, a New Jersey agent from the Bureau of Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) contacted Wilmington’s ICE Office alerting them that CLOS was the target of a nationwide investigation for the downloading of child pornography from a website. Later that month, a search warrant was executed at CLOS’ residence and his computer was seized. Analysis of the computer showed 200 digital images that included adult males having various types of sex with prepubescent females.
Mr. Holding commented: “With today’s technology it is becoming more and more difficult for parents to protect our children from predators. One of the best ways to ensure their protection is to take an active interest in their lives. Take time to sit down and talk with them. While my office will continue to aggressively prosecute cases such as these, each of us must take a stand on the front line to guard them by being involved.”
The maximum penalty for the charge is 20 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and up to a lifetime of supervised release. If CLOS has had prior convictions relating to sexual abuse of the production, possession, receipt, mailing, sale, distribution, shipment or transportation of child pornography, penalties are increased to up to 40 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and up to a lifetime of supervised release.
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 New Jersey Office of the Bureau of Immigration and Custom Enforcement, the Wilmington Office of the Bureau of Immigration and Custom Enforcement, and the Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce. Assistant United States Attorney Ethan Ontjes served as prosecutor for the government.
News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.