U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that DAMIAN BARBARITO ROMERO, age 37, from New Orleans, Louisiana, pleaded guilty as charged today before United States District Judge Sarah S. Vance to a one-count Indictment charging him with possession of child pornography involving children under the age of twelve, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2252(a)(4)(B).
According to court documents, special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation executed a search warrant at ROMERO’S residence in February 2017. During the execution of the warrant, agents seized dozens of electronic devices, including laptop computers, “thumb” drives, external storage devices, and DVDs, that contained images and videos depicting the sexual victimization of children. A subsequent forensic review revealed that ROMERO had downloaded and saved approximately 3,984 unique images and 1,258 videos depicting the sexual victimization of children, including children as young as two (2) years old being forced to engaged in violent sexually explicit conduct. The forensic review also determined that ROMERO attempted unsuccessfully to encrypt and hide his collection by using a sophisticated twenty-two character password.
ROMERO faces a maximum term of imprisonment of twenty years, and he may also be required to register as sex offender. Sentencing in this matter will occur before Judge Vance on May 16, 2018, at 9:30 am.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys= Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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 to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Jordan Ginsberg is in charge of the prosecution.