Former Baltimore County Correctional Officer Pleads Guilty in Federal Court to Two Counts of Production of Child Pornography
Faces at Least 15 Years in Federal Prison
Baltimore, Maryland – Thomas Michael Mannion, Jr., age 46, of Parkville, Maryland, pleaded guilty today in federal court to two counts of production of child pornography, and admitted to engaging in sexually explicit conduct with two minor victims.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Special Agent in Charge John Eisert of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore; Chief Melissa R. Hyatt of the Baltimore County Police Department; and Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger.
According to his guilty plea, Mannion rented the basement apartment of a townhome in Parkville, Maryland, where he lived alone. On May 6, 2019, Baltimore County Police were called to a residence after a neighbor had seen Mannion in bed naked with Minor Victim 1, who was also unclothed. When police arrived, they located the minor victim, who was 13 years old at the time, in the basement bedroom area. Investigation revealed that Mannion had met the victim a few months before on a social networking application. Mannion had initially met the Minor Victim 1 on March 9, 2019, and brought him to his apartment, where they engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Mannion took photos and videos of Minor Victim 1 during the sexual encounter. Mannion admitted that on March 12, 2019 and March 17, 2019, as well as on additional occasions, he distributed the sexually explicit images of Minor Victim 1 to others. Mannion took additional sexually explicit photographs of Minor Victim 1 on May 6, 2019. A forensic analysis of Mannion’s cellphone revealed 21 images and two videos depicting the minor victim engaged in sexually explicit activity on March 9, 2019, and an additional eight images of Minor Victim 1 documenting the sexual activity on May 6, 2019.
As detailed in the plea agreement, Mannion also communicated with Minor Victim 2, a 14-year-old male, through the social networking application. Mannion admitted that on April 17, 2019, Mannion went to the home of Minor Victim 2, where he engaged in sexual activity with the victim and took photographs and videos documenting the sexual contact. Mannion distributed the child pornography images of Minor Victim 2 to multiple other users of the social networking application. The forensic analysis of Mannion’s cellphone recovered 18 images and two videos documenting the sexual activity with Minor Victim 2.
According to the plea agreement, Mannion attempted to meet with several other minors with whom he communicated on the social networking application, even after the minors advised Mannion of their ages. Mannion also discussed his sexual interest in other children that he knew or had contact with during sexually explicit chats with users of the application. In addition, a review of Mannion’s laptop computer revealed multiple images of child pornography.
Mannion faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison and a maximum of 30 years in federal prison for each of the two counts of production of child pornography, followed by up to lifetime supervised release. U.S. District Judge Stephanie A. Gallagher has scheduled sentencing for June 16, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.
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 the United States Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.justice.gov/psc and click on the "Resources" tab on the left of the page.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the FBI, HSI, the Baltimore County Police Department, and the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary W. Setzer, who is prosecuting the federal case.
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