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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Virginia Man Pleads Guilty To Traveling Into The District Of Columbia To Engage In Illicit Sexual ConductWith A Minor And Receipt Of Child Pornography

     WASHINGTON – Nicholas Hanlon, 28, of Stafford, Va., pled guilty today to one count of traveling interstate to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and two counts of receipt of child pornography.

     The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), and Earl L. Cook, Chief of the Alexandria Police Department, Alexandria, Va.

     Hanlon entered the guilty plea in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The Honorable Gladys Kessler is to sentence him on Jan. 23, 2014. Hanlon faces a maximum of 30 years of imprisonment for traveling interstate to engage in illicit sexual conduct and a sentence of not less than five years and not more than 20 years of imprisonment for each of the counts related to his receipt of child pornography, as well as fines of up to $250,000 on each count.

     According to the government's evidence, on April 25, 2013, a member of the FBI's Child Exploitation Task Force, a detective from the Alexandria Police Department, was contacted by the parent of an under-aged female who was concerned that the child had been engaged in illicit text message conversations with Hanlon and others.  The task force member, in an undercover capacity, began communicating with Hanlon, who believed the officer was the child.

     Over the next few days, Hanlon engaged in text messaging with the undercover officer.  During this period of time, Hanlon arranged with the undercover officer to meet for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts with the child. 

     On April 25, 2013, Hanlon traveled from Virginia to a pre-arranged meeting place in Washington, D.C.  When he arrived, he was arrested. Subsequent to his arrest, law enforcement searched Hanlon’s computer and cell phone.  Pursuant to that search, law enforcement found evidence that Hanlon had been communicating via text message and email with multiple young girls.  Specifically, law enforcement recovered evidence that Hanlon received explicit videos from a female child from Missouri and from a 15-year-old from Virginia.

     This case was brought as part of the Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood initiative and investigated by the FBI's Child Exploitation Task Force, which includes members of the FBI's Washington Field Office and MPD.  In February 2006, the Attorney General created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.  Led by the U.S. Attorney's 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 about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

     In announcing the guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Machen, Assistant Director Parlave, Chief Lanier, and Chief Cook praised the work of the MPD and Alexandria Police Detectives and Special Agents of the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force. Finally, they commended the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorney Ari Redbord, who is prosecuting the case.


Updated February 19, 2015