Project Safe Childhood is a unified and comprehensive strategy to combat child exploitation. Initiated in May, 2006, by the Department of Justice, Project Safe Childhood combines law enforcement efforts, community action, and public awareness. The goal of Project Safe Childhood is to reduce the incidence of sexual exploitation of children. There are five essential components to Project Safe Childhood: (1) building partnerships; (2) coordinating law enforcement; (3) training PSC partners; (4) public awareness; and (5) accountability.
Unfortunately, the threat against our children is growing. In February 2010, the Department, working with the National Drug Intelligence Center, completed a year long and first of its kind threat assessment of the magnitude of child exploitation. The result of this assessment reports a disturbing trend showing increases, and in some instances significant increases, in all types of child sexual exploitation, including: (1) child pornography; (2) online enticement of children for sexual purposes; (3) commercial sexual exploitation of children; and (4) child sex tourism.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee is committed to the safety and well-being of our children and has placed a high priority on protecting and combating sexual exploitation of minors. Recently we received an additional position to help prosecute these crimes in our District. Some examples of the types of cases brought by our office through the Project Safe Childhood initiative include:
In February 2017, Thomas de Matteis, 54, of Hazel Green, Alabama, was sentenced to serve 10 years in federal prison for coercing or enticing a minor to engage in sexual activity. Matteis pleaded guilty to this charge in November 2016. At the time of his offenses, Matteis was employed by NASA in Alabama. https://www.justice.gov/usao-edtn/pr/former-nasa-employee-sentenced-serve-ten-years-federal-prison-coercion-minor
In January 2017, Andrew Scott Conard, 30, of Knoxville was sentenced to serve 188 months in federal prison after pleading guilty in June 2016 to one count of possessing child pornography and one count of distribution of child pornography. In the plea agreement on file with the U.S. District Court, Conard admitted that he maintained a collection of child pornography on his computer, which he downloaded over the internet, and knowingly made available to other persons through a peer-to-peer file-sharing network, with the anticipation of being able to obtain additional child pornography on the same file-sharing network. https://www.justice.gov/usao-edtn/pr/knoxville-resident-sentenced-over-15-years-prison-possessing-and-distributing-child
In December 2016, Wesley Thomas Ryan, 28, of Fayetteville, Tenn., and Rachael Gabrielle Boyett, 21, of Taft, Tenn., were sentenced for production of child pornography. Ryan was ordered to serve 360 months and Boyett was ordered to serve 280 months. Upon their release from prison, both will be under the supervision of the U.S. Probation Office for at least 10 years as well as be required to register as sexual offenders. https://www.justice.gov/usao-edtn/pr/couple-sentenced-serve-combined-total-over-fifty-three-years-federal-prison-producing
William Anthony Hoffa, 29, of Newport and Morristown, Tenn., was sentenced in October 2016 to serve 300 months in federal prison. Hoffa pleaded guilty in July 2016 to receiving, distributing, and possessing child pornography while he resided at different locations in Morristown, Tennessee. According to the plea agreement on file with U.S. District Court, he committed these offenses by electronic mail on different dates in 2014 from both an apartment in Morristown and a rented home. When he was arrested in June 2014, Hoffa possessed additional child pornography stored on his mobile telephone, including 312 still images and four videos of child pornography. https://www.justice.gov/usao-edtn/pr/william-anthony-hoffa-sentenced-serve-25-years-prison-receiving-distributing-and
For more information about the Project Safe Childhood Program please visit http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov.