News and Press Releases

Man Sentenced for Manufacture and Transportation of Child Pornography

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 8, 2014

Contact Person: Bill Day (803) 929-3000

COLUMBIA, SC – United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Gerald E. Roberts, age 53, of Little River, SC, was sentenced in federal court in Florence, South Carolina, for the manufacture and transportation of child pornography in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2251(a) and (e) and  2252A(a)(1).  United States District Judge R. Bryan Harwell of Florence sentenced Roberts to 327 months imprisonment and supervised release for life, ordered sex offender treatment, and ordered that Roberts pay $92,360.00 in restitution to his victims.

Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that Homeland Security Investigation Cyber Crime Center, Victim Identification Program, discovered the images of a minor female, approximately four to six years of age, engaged in sexually explicit activity with an adult male, which images were being posted on the internet in October 2012.  The investigation revealed that between approximately January 1, 2010, and August 1, 2012, in Greene and Christian Counties, Missouri, Roberts induced the minor child to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing child pornography. Further investigation determined that Roberts was distributing the child pornography on the internet from a residence in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. During a search of Roberts’ residence on November 8, 2012, the images of the minor child were recovered, as well as a large amount of other child pornography.  Roberts was arrested at that time.

U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles stated that this is the first award of restitution in a federal prosecution in South Carolina for the victims in the production of child pornography.  He also advised that this is the single largest award of restitution in a child pornography case in the district.

"Punishing those that commit despicable crimes against children is a top priority for Homeland Security Investigations,” said Brock D. Nicholson, Special Agent in Charge of HSI investigations in Georgia and the Carolinas. “In addition to rescuing the innocent victim in this case, Special Agents were also able to unmask the perverse network of pedophiles this monster was connected to. As a result, we have arrested an additional seven child pornographers in the United States and five other child predators overseas in England, Germany and Israel.”

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agents.  Assistant United States Attorney William E. Day, II of the Florence office handled the case.

  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 United States Attorney’s Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

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