HOME HEALTH CARE AIDE PLEADS GUILTY TO ATTEMPTED CHILD ENTICEMENT AND DISTRIBUTION OF CHILD PORN
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2012
Public Affairs Officer
COLUMBUS – A Columbus home health care aide, Patrick Mahoney, 34, pleaded guilty Wednesday to distributing child pornography over the internet and attempting to coerce a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity.
Carter M. Stewart, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of HSI in Ohio and Michigan; and Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott, on behalf of the Franklin County Internet Against Crimes (ICAC) Task Force, announced the pleas entered today before U.S. District Judge Michael H. Watson.
According to court documents, in February 2012, Mahoney arranged online a sexual encounter with an undercover officer whom he thought was a 15 year-old girl. He allegedly intended to photograph the encounter with his cell phone. He also sent 45 images and nine videos depicting prepubescent males and females engaged in sexual activity with adult males and other children.
Mahoney was arrested on a criminal complaint on February 17, 2012 and has been in custody since his arrest. Agents searched a laptop computer belonging to Mahoney and found it contained numerous images of child pornography.
Attempted coercion or enticement of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity is punishable by at least ten years and up to life in prison. Distribution of child pornography over the internet is punishable by at least five years and up to 20 years in prison.
“Children who are sexually exploited either physically or through the dissemination of child pornography suffer immeasurable harm," said Moskowitz. "And while this significant sentence cannot repair the damage done, it should serve as a stark reminder that we are watching and the aggressive investigation and prosecution of predators remains a high priority for HSI.”
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers. ICE HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.Stewart commended the cooperative investigation by HSI agents and ICAC members, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Hill and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Casey Russo with Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien’s office, who are prosecuting the case.