Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced Jeffrey Ellis, age 35, of Laurel, Maryland, today to 78 months in prison, followed by 15 years of supervised release, for transportation of child pornography. Judge Blake ordered that upon his release from prison, Ellis must register as a sex offender in the place where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Colonel Marcus L. Brown, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police.
According to Ellis’ plea agreement, on February 16, 2012, an FBI agent working in an undercover capacity signed onto a file sharing program through an Internet-connected computer and chatted with a user named “mdboi78,” later identified as Jeffrey Ellis. The user allowed the undercover agent to download several images of minors engaged in sexually explicit content from the “mdboi78” folder. On June 13, 2012, FBI agents executed a search warrant at Ellis’ residence and recovered three laptop computers, a digital camera, and at least three external hard drives.
At least 250 images, including videos, of child pornography were recovered from the seized items. Logs and chats involving Ellis were also recovered from one of the laptop computers and hard drive. The recovered chats included conversations in which Ellis stated that he was having sex with a 13-year old girl and that he had been having sex with her for approximately two years. Ellis also sent a photo of the girl to the person with whom he was chatting. The child was identified and interviewed by law enforcement. The girl advised that she did not have sex with Ellis and Ellis also denies having sex with the child, although he chatted about having sex with her online.
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 Attorneys' 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.
The case was investigated by the FBI-led Maryland Child Exploitation Task Force (MCETF), which was created in 2010, with members from10 state and federal law enforcement agencies. The Task Force coordinates with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Maryland State Police Child Recovery Unit to identify missing children and to combat child prostitution.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FBI and Maryland State Police for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Ayn B. Ducao, who prosecuted the case.