FORMER ROANOKE MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO CHILD PORN CHARGE
Paul Aragon Faces up to 20 Years in Prison
ROANOKE, VIRGINIA -- A one-time local resident pleaded guilty yesterday afternoon in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Roanoke to a charge related to his possession of child pornography.
Paul Aragon, 52, formerly of Roanoke, Va., pleaded guilty late yesterday afternoon in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Roanoke to one count of receiving or distributing child pornography.
“Protecting our children from exploitation and abuse is a fundamental priority of this Department,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “Mr. Aragon perpetuated the abuse of children when he obtained and transferred these disgusting images. Those of us who work in law enforcement will continue to use all resources available to locate and prosecute those who traffic in this sort of perverse material.”
"Studies have shown that viewing child pornography is often a gateway to acting on those deviant desires. Working together with federal agents, we hope to catch as many of these predators as we can before they act to physically harm a child," Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said. "But even by purchasing a subscription to a web site, Mr. Aragon contributed to the demand for child pornography, and more children will become victims as a result."
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C. Special Agent in Charge John P. Torres said, "HSI is committed to the investigation of crimes against children. HSI will continue to diligently work with our law enforcement partners, both domestically and internationally, to identify child predators and bring them to justice."
According to evidence presented at the defendant’s guilty plea hearing by Assistant United States Attorney Charlene Day, Aragon admitted to purchasing a membership to a website that distributed child pornography and to downloading images of children engaged in sexual acts.
Following an investigation into child pornography membership websites and IP addresses by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), agents went to Aragon’s Roanoke, Va. residence on May 19, 2011. At that time, according to a statement of facts filed with the court yesterday, Aragon stated to agents, “I know why you are here, I did it” and “I’m going to jail. I’m a pedophile . I’m sick. I want to die.”
The statements of facts also states that the defendant advised agents to take his computer and DVDs containing child pornography because he was unable to exercise the self-control needed to stop viewing it. Aragon also stated that he preferred to view child pornography depicting 8-10 year-old females, but that he never acted on his sexual desires with actual children.
During the May 19 visit, agents seized a computer, 443 DVDs and several child-sized dolls. A subsequent forensic examination revealed 2,500 images of child pornography on the seized items.
At sentencing, the defendant faces a minimum penalty of five years in prison and a maximum possible penalty of up to 20 years in prison. In addition, he faces a period of supervised release of between five years and life.
The investigation of the case was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant United States Attorney Charlene Day and Special Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Johnstone of the Virginia Attorney General’s Office are prosecuting the case for the United States.