Former Lynn Man Arrested 10 Years After Being Charged for Child Pornography Offense
BOSTON – A man from the Philippines who previously resided in Lynn has been arrested in the Dominican Republic 10 years after being indicted for possessing child sexual abuse material (CSAM).
Melchor Datu, 51, formerly of Lynn, Mass., was arrested today by special agents and officers with FBI Boston’s Child Exploitation – Human Trafficking Task Force upon his arrival in the United States and made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida this afternoon. He will appear in federal court in Boston at a later date. In December 2012, Datu was indicted by a federal grand jury on one count of possession of child pornography.
According to the federal indictment, in October 2008, Datu’s laptop and two external hard drives were found to contain multiple files of CSAM depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. In January 2022, the FBI launched an international publicity campaign, offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Datu.
Datu was arrested in the Dominican Republic on Thursday by the Dominican National Police (DNP), Division Especial de Investigacion del Crimen Organizado Internacional (DEICROI), Migracion Dominicana, and Procuraduria Especializada contra Crimen y Delitos de Alta Tecnologia, Titular Ivan Vladimir Feliz Vargas, with the assistance of the FBI’s Legal Attaché in Santo Domingo.
Datu’s updated wanted poster which has been marked captured can be found here: https://www.fbi.gov/wanted/cac/melchor-datu
“No matter where you go. No matter where you hide. If you are a fugitive from Justice we will not stop until we find you. This arrest proves that fact. The Department of Justice has extreme capabilities thanks to our strong coordination with law enforcement partners on every level, both here in the United States and abroad,” said United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins. “Keeping our children safe from predators is a top priority of my administration. My office remains vigilant in our pursuit of justice for the most vulnerable members of our communities: I commend the FBI and Dominican law enforcement for their dedication in ensuring Mr. Datu was located to face the United States criminal justice process.”
“Our commitment to justice has no time limit and knows no boundaries. Melchor Datu’s arrest should send a clear message to fugitives: no matter where in the world you try to hide, we will find you and bring you back to face justice,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division. “We’d like to thank the concerned citizen who alerted us to Mr. Datu’s whereabouts, and our law enforcement partners in the Dominican Republic for their outstanding cooperation. The crime for which Melchor Datu stands accused is disturbing. We hope this news brings some comfort to all affected.”
The charge of possession of child pornography provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, at least five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.
Members of the public who have questions, concerns or information regarding this case should call 617-748-3274.
U.S. Attorney Rollins and FBI SAC Bonavolonta made the announcement today. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida and the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs provided valuable assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorney David G. Tobin of Rollins’ Major Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.
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 the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit https://www.justice.gov/psc.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.