Man Pleads Guilty to Manufacture and Transportation of Child Pornography
Contact Person: Beth Drake (803) 929-3000
Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Gerald E. Roberts, age 52, of Pageland, SC, pled guilty today in federal court in Florence, to manufacture of, and transportation of, child pornography, a 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 accepted the plea and will impose sentence after he has reviewed the presentence report which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.
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, involved in sexually explicit activity with an adult male, which 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 persuaded the 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. The search was conducted of Roberts’ residence on November 8, 2012, at which time the child pornography images which had produced were recovered, as well as a large amount of other child pornography. Roberts was arrested at that time.
"The consequences of this heinous crime on the defendant's innocent victim cannot be understated," said Brock D. Nicholson, special agent in charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Atlanta. "When a potential victim of a predator is identified, HSI special agents are relentless in their efforts to find and protect that child."
Mr. Nettles stated the maximum penalty Roberts can receive is a fine of $250,000.00 and/or imprisonment for 30 years, plus a special assessment of $100.00.
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 Attorneys 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.