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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 18, 2014

Registered Child Sex Offender Sentenced To 20 Years for Possession Of Child Pornography

 

WILMINGTON, Del. – Christopher Joseph Dondero, age 36, of New Castle, Delaware, was sentenced today to a statutory maximum term of 20 years in federal prison for Possession of Child Pornography, in violation of federal law.  Dondero also was sentenced to a life term of supervised release following his prison sentence.  He must continue to register as a sex offender in any jurisdiction in which he lives, works, or attends school.

Dondero was previously convicted in Delaware of the state crimes of Unlawful Sexual Contact Third Degree in 2001 and Dealing in Child Pornography in 2010.  The child pornography involved in the 2010 case featured prepubescent females.  At the time of the instant offense, Dondero was on probation for his 2010 child pornography offense and was registered as a sex offender as required by Delaware and federal law.

According to statements made and documents filed in court, Dondero used a cell phone to take photographs of an 8-year-old girl while the child was showering.  The child saw Dondero doing so and later told her mother, who reported the incident to state authorities.  At the time of the incident, Dondero’s girlfriend was babysitting the child.  Officers from the New Castle County Police Department and the Office of Probation and Parole subsequently searched Dondero’s residence and recovered his cell phone, which contained the images of the child.

United States District Judge Gregory M. Sleet cited a number of factors in imposing the statutory maximum sentence and life term of supervision.  They included, but were not limited to, the seriousness of the offense against a young child, Dondero’s past sex offenses and violations of probation, the need to protect children from child sex offenders, and the need to deter Dondero and others from committing future child sex offenses.

Following the sentencing hearing, United States Attorney Charles M. Oberly, III stated:  “Those, like Mr. Dondero, who repeatedly victimize children should expect to feel the full and combined weight of Delaware’s federal, state and local law enforcement authorities.  They also should expect to receive very long sentences when they are brought into a Delaware court.”

“This case demonstrates the danger that our kids face from predators,” Attorney General Beau Biden said. “Unfortunately, experience has shown that predators pose ongoing risks of committing new offenses against children and that’s why our Child Predator Task Force, along with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners, work hard every day to take individuals who create, possess and distribute child pornography off the streets.”

HSI resident agent in charge for Delaware Jonathan D. Free stated:  "Today's sentencing brings into shape focus the danger that child predators represent and the concerted and continuing efforts of Delaware's federal, state and local law enforcement to take these individuals out of circulation in order to protect America's children."

This case was investigated by the Delaware Child Predator Task Force, the New Castle County Police Department, and the United States Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations.  It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Edward J. McAndrew.

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Updated July 16, 2015