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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

Monday, March 4, 2019

Gaithersburg Sex Offender Indicted on Federal Charges for Possession and Distribution of Child Pornography

Greenbelt, Maryland – A federal grand jury has indicted Bruce Ralph Sturtz, age 73, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, for possession and distribution of child pornography. The indictment was returned on February 25, 2019 and unsealed today upon Sturtz’s arrest. 

The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Acting Special Agent in Charge Jennifer L. Moore of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Colonel William M. Pallozzi, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police.

According to the indictment, on March 23, 2017, Sturtz allegedly distributed child pornography over the Internet.  The indictment also alleges that Sturtz possessed child pornography on October 25, 2017, including an image involving a prepubescent minor.  Finally, the indictment includes a special allegation that Sturtz has a prior conviction involving the sexual abuse of a minor, specifically, that on October 6, 2000, Sturtz was convicted of a third-degree sexual offense in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County.

If convicted, Sturtz faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and up to 20 years in prison for possession of child pornography, and a minimum mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and up to 40 years in prison for distribution of child pornography.  Sturtz had his initial appearance today in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, and was ordered to be detained pending a detention hearing scheduled for Tuesday, March 5, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy Sullivan.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt.  An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings. 

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  For more information about Internet safety education, please visit and click on the "Resources" tab on the left of the page.       

United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the FBI, and the Maryland State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force for their work in this investigation.  Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Leah B. Grossi and Joseph R. Baldwin, who are prosecuting the federal case.

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Project Safe Childhood
Marcia Murphy (410) 209-4854
Updated March 4, 2019