News and Press Releases

Retired Navy Chief Petty Officer Pleads Guilty to Receipt of Child Pornography

Dec. 1, 2011

HOUSTON – Dieter David Palmer, 42, has pleaded guilty to one count of receipt of child pornography, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison accepted the plea at a hearing today in Houston.

The investigation began as a Department of Justice Operation (Operation Flicker) targeting a criminal organization operating multiple commercial child pornography websites. Palmer was identified as person who purchased a membership to the sites under investigation. The Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS) followed-up on current or former Navy and Marine employees who were identified in Operation Flicker as purchasing membership in the illicit sites. On March 11, 2011, a NCIS special agent along with agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) conducted a consensual interview with Palmer to discuss his purchase of membership in the child pornography site. At that time, Palmer admitted to purchasing membership to sites providing child pornography as well as chatting and exchanging images of child pornography through his e-mail account. Palmer consented to a search of the computers at his residence, during which a computer forensic agent located several images of child pornography on Palmer’s desktop computer, laptop computer and an external hard drive.

He is set for sentencing on Feb. 21, 2012, at 10:30 a.m., at which time he faces a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of 20 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000. Upon completion of any prison term imposed, Palmer also faces a maximum of life on supervised release during which the court can impose a number of special conditions designed to protect children and prohibit the use of the Internet. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.

This case, prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Demetrius Bivins, is the result of an investigation conducted by ICE-HSI and NCIS. The prosecution is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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 to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov./

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