Laurel Man Sentenced to Nine Years in Federal Prison for Distribution of Child Pornography
Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Paul W. Grimm today sentenced Charles Bertsch, age 60, of Laurel, Maryland, to nine years in federal prison, followed by 25 years of supervised release, for distribution of child pornography. Judge Grimm also ordered that, upon his release from prison, Bertsch must register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Acting Special Agent in Charge Jennifer L. Moore of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Chief Terrence B. Sheridan of the Baltimore County Police Department; Washington County Sheriff Douglas W. Mullendore; and Worcester County Sheriff Matthew Crisafulli.
According to Bertsch’s plea agreement, FBI Task Force agents in Maryland began an investigation into Bertsch after various law enforcement agencies downloaded child pornography via a file-sharing network from IP addresses that led back to Bertsch. In a subsequent interview with law enforcement, Bertsch acknowledged that by connecting his computer and downloading such images, he was simultaneously enabling others to download child pornography from his hard drive. A forensic examination of Bertsch’s electronic devices, seized pursuant to a search warrant, revealed more than 99,000 image files and more than 2,000 video files of child pornography.
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, the Baltimore County Police Department, the Washington County Sheriff's Office, and the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur and Mr. Benczkowski thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Baldwin and Trial Attorney Nadia Prinz of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), who prosecuted the federal case.
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