Maryland Man Pleads Guilty to Posing as a 16-Year-Old Boy to Persuade, Induce, and Entice at Least Three Minor Victims to Engage in Sexually Explicit Conduct in Order to Produce Images and Videos of Such Conduct
Defendant Also Admits Using an Encrypted Messaging Service to Transmit and Receive Child Pornography, which He Saved on His Electronic Devices
Greenbelt, Maryland – Derrell Lamar Hooker Orange (“Hooker Orange”) age 37, of Brandywine, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to enticement of a minor to produce child pornography and to possession of child pornography. After Hooker-Orange entered his guilty plea, U.S. District Judge George J. Hazel ordered the defendant into U.S. Marshal custody because he determined that Hooker-Orange was a danger to the community.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Acting Special Agent in Charge Selwyn Smith of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore; Colonel Woodrow W. Jones III, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police and Sheriff Michelle Cook of the Clay County, Florida Sherriff’s Office.
According to his plea agreement, from at least July 2020 through October 2020, Hooker-Orange, posing as a 16-year-old boy name “Lamar Thompson,” communicated with Victim 1, a 12-year-old girl living in Florida. Hooker-Orange admitted that Victim 1 disclosed to him that she was in “junior high.” During their communications, Hooker-Orange, using the Thompson persona, sent text messages requesting sexually explicit videos from Victim 1, including on August 29, 2020 and October 11, 2020, which Victim 1 then sent to Hooker-Orange.
On March 16, 2021, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Hooker Orange’s residence and seized his iPad and iPhone. Forensic review of Hooker Orange’s devices revealed images and videos of child pornography, including sexually explicit videos of Victim 1.
As detailed in his plea agreement, Hooker-Orange also communicated with three other minor victims, Victim 2, Victim 3, and Victim 4, through text messages and a secure communication application. As he did with Victim 1, Hooker-Orange posed as a 16-year-old boy and requested sexually explicit images and videos from Victim 2, Victim 3, and Victim 4, which the victims sent to him. Based on the forensic analysis of his devices, Hooker-Orange knew that Victims 3 and 4 were only 11 years old. In addition, on February 21, 2021, Hooker-Orange sent text messages to Victim 2, who resided in Florida, indicating that he had traveled to her residence. The text messages included a screen shot of a Lyft route to the area of Victim 2’s residence, as well as a video of the apartment complex where Victim 2 lived at that time, with a text stating, “I’m outside.” Victim 2 did not meet Hooker-Orange.
According to his plea agreement, Hooker-Orange also participated in numerous chats using a cross-platform messaging service with enhanced encryption to transmit and receive material depicting minors, including prepubescent minors, engaged in sexually explicit conduct. For example, in a chat with another user of the messaging service in March 2021, the other user asked Hooker-Orange to “Trade.” In response, Hooker-Orange sent approximately 74 videos depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and received approximately 98 such videos.
Hooker Orange and the government have agreed that, if the Court accepts the plea, Hooker-Orange will be sentenced to between 151 and 262 months in federal prison. U.S. District Judge George J. Hazel has scheduled sentencing for August 17, 2022 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 Erek L. Barron commended the HSI, the Maryland State Police, and the Clay County, Florida Sheriff’s Office for their work in the investigation and thanked the Prince George’s County Police Department for its assistance. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jessica C. Collins and Leah Grossi, who are prosecuting the federal case.
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