Reisterstown Man Sentenced to 25 Years in Federal Prison for Traveling to the Philippines to Have Sex With a Minor, Which he Videotaped and Transported Back to the United States
Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander sentenced Martin Hall, age 56, of Reisterstown, Maryland, today to 25 years in prison, followed by lifetime supervised release, for traveling from the United States to the Philippines to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor, and for producing child pornography with the intent to transport it to the United States. Judge Hollander also ordered that Hall must pay $125,000 in restitution to the victims, and upon his release from prison, Hall must register as a sex offender in the places 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 Robert K. Hur; Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Acting Special Agent in Charge Cardell T. Morant of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore; Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Chief Terrence B. Sheridan of the Baltimore County Police Department; and Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger.
U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur stated, “As this case demonstrates, children are cruelly and sexually abused to produce child pornography. Martin Hall traveled to the Philippines to abuse minors, filmed the abuse, and brought those images back to the U.S. We prosecute these crimes without the children having to testify because we have photo and video evidence of the crimes. This sentence, which includes restitution to the victims, sends a strong message that we will bring these criminals to justice to try to save even more children from becoming victims, and to help child victims recover.”
“Time and again we see these egregious offenders believe that they may hide their crimes across international borders or in the depths of cyberspace. Time and again, our investigators disprove such a notion, find these offenders and bring them before our justice system to face the consequences,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Cardell T. Morant. “While we cannot undo the harm and trauma Martin Hall has inflicted, I am pleased with today’s announcement knowing that the just burden of his crimes will weigh heavily on him.”
According to his plea agreement, Hall traveled to the Philippines for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual activity with minor girls. Hall’s conduct included engaging in sexual acts with minors, producing images of the minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, and transporting the images back to Maryland. Hall began traveling to the Philippines in 2006 to engage in sexual conduct with, a sixteen-year-old girl. During Hall’s travels to the Philippines, he admitted that he also produced images of two other girls, Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2, engaged in sexually explicit conduct, beginning when each girl was as young as 12 years old.
Specifically, as detailed in his plea agreement, from April through August 2016, Hall traveled to the Philippines to have sex with Jane Doe 1, who was then 14 years old, and produced images documenting his sexual abuse of the girl. Hall transported these images back to the United States. Additionally, Hall used sophisticated computer programs to download and store thousands of images and videos of child pornography on various digital devices in his residence, including the images of Jane Doe 1. Hall used encryption software on all of his digital devices to prevent others from accessing his files.
After observing Hall request child pornography using a file-sharing program, investigators from the Baltimore County Police Department obtain a search warrant and searched Hall’s residence on September 7, 2016. Investigators seized Hall’s computer equipment and digital camera. At the time of the execution of the warrant, Hall’s laptop and external hard drive were turned on and in an unencrypted state. During an on-scene forensic examination of the laptop and connected external hard drive, investigators discovered approximately 8,000 images relating to child exploitation. The device became encrypted during the forensic examination, but not before investigators had copied more than 4,600 image files, most of which are child pornography. The copied images included the series of sexually explicit images of Jane Doe 1 captured by Hall between April and August 2016.
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 and Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski commended the FBI, HSI-Baltimore, the Baltimore County Police Department, and the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur and Mr. Benczkowski thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul E. Budlow and Trial Attorney Kaylynn Shoop of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, who prosecuted the federal case.
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