Retired Navy Chief Petty Officer Arrested on Child Pornography Charges
|July 14, 2011|
HOUSTON – Dieter David Palmer, 42, a retired Navy chief petty officer, has been indicted on charges of distribution, receipt, attempted receipt, transportation and possession of child pornography, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
Palmer, of Houston, was arrested on July 12, 2011, following the return of a five-count indictment on June 22, 2011. In custody since his arrest, Palmer was ordered released on a $50,000 bond today by U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Wm. Smith following a hearing. Judge Smith imposed a number of special conditions including prohibiting him from personal use of an electronic device which could access the Internet and from contact with children. He will also be subject to GPS monitoring and cannot travel outside of Harris County among other things. Palmer has entered a plea of not guilty to the charges and is set for trial before U.S. District Judge Ellison on Aug. 29, 2011, at 9:00 a.m.
Testimony presented during today’s detention hearing alleged Palmer subscribed and purchased membership to websites offering child pornography over the Internet and that Palmer distributed and received images of child pornography utilizing his e-mail accounts. Palmer had two computers at his residence when contacted by law enforcement in March 2011, which, upon examination, were found to contain more than 1800 digital images and at least 36 videos of child pornography including images depicting children in bondage. Additionally, according to the testimony, these images included children under 12 being sexually violated by adults and photographed in positions which caused their genitalia to be displayed in a lewd/lascivious manner.
At the time of the investigation and when contacted by law enforcement, Palmer held a security clearance due to his employment with a navy contractor.
Palmer faces a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of 20 years imprisonment if convicted of the distribution, receipt, attempted receipt or transportation of child pornography charges and a maximum fine of $250,000. Possession of child pornography carries a maximum punishment of up to 10 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000 upon conviction. Each offense also carries a maximum of a life term of supervised release during which the court can impose a number of special conditions designed to protect children. Additionally, if convicted, registration as a sex offender is mandatory.
The investigation leading to the indictment is the result of an investigation conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Homeland Security Investigations as part of Operation Predator. 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 www. projectsafechildhood.gov.
Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Demetrius Bivins is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty through due process of law.