WASHINGTON – A Union City, N.J., man pleaded guilty today to a five-count information charging him with three counts of traveling in foreign commerce with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, and one count each of producing and possessing child pornography, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division Matthew Friedrich and U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey Christopher J. Christie announced.
During the plea hearing, Wayne Nelson Corliss, 59, admitted that he traveled to Thailand each year from 2000 to 2002. In each instance, Corliss admitted he traveled with the intent to sexually abuse children, paid for access to children, brought items to facilitate their sexual abuse and sexually abused children. Corliss also admitted to sexually abusing children in 2002 in Thailand for the purpose of photographing and videotaping the activity. In addition, Corliss admitted to storing and possessing images of child pornography on his home computers at the time of his arrest in 2008.
Corliss was identified in May 2008 after INTERPOL released a photo to media outlets around the world and made a global appeal for information that could identify the offender depicted in the photo. The image of the offender had been cropped from photos depicting him sexually abusing young children in Southeast Asia. Within 48 hours and acting on information obtained from individuals who recognized the offender as Corliss, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, coordinating with INTERPOL, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) located and arrested Corliss.
Corliss has been in custody since his arrest, and will remain in custody pending his sentencing on Feb. 9, 2009. At sentencing, Corliss will face a mandatory minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 75 years in prison. Corliss also faces the possibility of lifetime supervised release following his prison term and a $250,000 fine.
The May release of Corliss’ photo represented the second time that INTERPOL has made such a public appeal to identify a suspected child predator. INTERPOL and ICE are partners in the Virtual Global Task Force, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies committed to joint, international enforcement efforts designed to keep children safe from sexual predators around the world.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee D. Vartan of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey and CEOS Trial Attorney Michael Yoon. The case was investigated by INTERPOL and ICE.