Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, Keith Liwanag was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment by United States District Judge Jack B. Weinstein following the defendant’s guilty plea in June 2018 to sexual exploitation of a child. Upon completion of his sentence, Liwanag must register as a sex offender.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Angel M. Melendez, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York, announced the sentence.
“This is a just sentence for a defendant who used technology to victimize vulnerable children half a world away,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “Protecting children from sexual exploitation will always be a priority of this Office.” Mr. Donoghue extended his grateful appreciation to INTERPOL’s Crimes Against Children Unit for its investigative work and assistance during the investigation.
“Liwanag paid others to victimize children for his own pleasure,” stated HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Melendez. “His use of women in the Philippines to exploit children for the production of child pornography is not just criminal, it’s evil. Because of the great work of law enforcement and the prosecutor’s office, he will now serve 15 years for his unfathomable acts, facing the full justice of his actions behind bars.”
Between September 2016 and October 2016, Liwanag used a Facebook account to direct women in the Philippines to engage in sexual acts with children in exchange for money, and to produce and send child pornography to him over Facebook’s private messaging service. During the government’s investigation, law enforcement seized over 50 recorded video conferences between Liwanag and women engaged in the sexual abuse of children over Facebook and Skype. The investigation revealed that Liwanag shared the videos he created online.
This prosecution is 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 United States Attorneys’ 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 to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Tanya Hajjar and Erin Reid.
Queens, New York