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Press Release

Colorado Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Kidnapping a Toddler and Producing Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

FRESNO – Shawn McCormack, 31, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Anthony W. Ishii to life in prison for four counts of sexual exploitation of a child and two counts of kidnapping, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner and Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Spradlin of ICE-HSI San Francisco Office.

McCormack was found guilty in April 2015 by a federal jury of kidnapping and producing child pornography involving two toddlers. According to evidence presented at trial, McCormack, feigning to be a friend, traveled to a couple’s residence in Bakersfield, and stayed as an overnight guest on multiple occasions. During several of the overnight stays, in the middle of the night, McCormack snuck the couple’s toddlers out of the house and recorded his sexual abuse of them at a variety of locations, including a nearby motel, outdoors and in his truck. McCormack then returned the toddlers to the house before the parents awoke. The evidence demonstrated that McCormack distributed the images and videos of his abuse to others online, including an undercover officer with the Toronto Police Services.

Homeland Security Investigations agents in Boston found images and recordings distributed by McCormack on a separate defendant’s computer in Massachusetts. The agents were able to identify the date, time and specific hotel room where one of the videos had been produced. When agents visited that hotel, they learned that McCormack had rented that hotel room on the night when the recording was created. During the investigation, agents uncovered evidence that McCormack had recorded his abuse of both of the couple’s children.

The case is part of an ongoing HSI-led investigation that originated in Boston in 2010 when the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Massachusetts and HSI Boston arrested and convicted Robert Diduca on child pornography production charges. Forensic analysis of Diduca’s computer led investigators to the Netherlands where a Dutch national was arrested and charged with production, distribution and possession of child pornography, as well as the sexual assault of 87 minors. Since that time, a worldwide network of child pornographers has been, and continues to be, unraveled, as multiple offenders are prosecuted, including McCormack. Defendants and victims continue to be identified around the world. To date, more than 140 children have been rescued and 43 perpetrators arrested worldwide as a result.

“McCormack’s depraved actions in this case are the stuff of nightmares. While posing as a trusted friend and house guest, McCormack kidnapped his hosts’ toddler child and sexually abused the child in local motels and parked cars,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell. “Through tireless efforts, law enforcement was able to rescue the victim from further abuse and ensure that McCormack never again will victimize another child.”

“McCormack’s acts were both vile and heart-breaking, and they may have continued undetected for years but for the imaginative, dogged, and painstaking work of the investigators who brought him to justice,” said U.S. Attorney Wagner. “We are gratified by the sentence McCormack received today, which is both severe and just, and while the harm that he inflicted cannot be undone, we can be assured that he will not be able to inflict further harm upon our most vulnerable.”

“The sexual exploitation of children is a heinous crime that leaves lifelong emotional scars on young victims,” said HSI Special Agent in Charge Spradlin. “It is our duty to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Together with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to pursue child predators and make them accountable for their dark and monstrous deeds.”

This case was the product of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) field offices in Bakersfield, California; Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Boston, Massachusetts; the Bakersfield Police Department; the Colorado Springs Police Department; and the Toronto Police Services. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrick R. Delahunty and Megan A.S. Richards of the Eastern District of California and Trial Attorney Maureen C. Cain of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section prosecuted the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit Click on the “resources” tab for information about Internet safety education.

Updated October 13, 2015

Project Safe Childhood
Press Release Number: 1:11-cr-324-AWI