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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Man Pleads Guilty to Production of Child Pornography

RICHMOND, Va. – A Dinwiddie County man pleaded guilty today to production of child pornography.

According to court documents, throughout 2017, Thomas Burke, 34, sexually abused two minors under 12 years of age and produced images of the abuse with his cell phone. Federal agents executed a search warrant at Burke’s Dinwiddie County residence after the images he produced were discovered by Australian law enforcement on the computers of an Australian individual who was being investigated for child pornography offenses. Burke had sent the images, as well as other child pornography, to the Australian defendant over the “Kik” application on his cell phone.

Burke pleaded guilty to production of child pornography and faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years and a maximum penalty of 30 years when sentenced on August 23. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the 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.justice.gov/psc.

Tracy Doherty-McCormick, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Patrick J. Lechleitner, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C., made the announcement after U.S. District Judge M. Hannah Lauck accepted the plea. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Gene Fishel is prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:18-cr-19.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Communications joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated May 22, 2018