Severn Man Pleads Guilty To Possession Of Child Pornography
Previously Convicted of Child Abuse
Baltimore, Maryland – Albert A. Firlie, age 67, of Severn, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to possession of child pornography. Firlie faces an enhanced sentence due to a 1991 child abuse conviction in Howard County, Maryland, involving the sexual abuse of a prepubescent minor female.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Acting Postal Inspector in Charge David M. McGinnis of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service - Washington Division; Acting Special Agent in Charge Ivan Arvelo of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Colonel William M. Pallozzi, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; and Anne Arundel County Police Chief Tim Altomare.
According to Firlie’s plea agreement, beginning no later than October 2003, Firlie used the internet to locate and obtain child pornography. In November 2007 and April 2009, Firlie created email accounts with Hotmail and Verizon, respectively, with a username that combined his first name with the first name of the victim in his child sex abuse case. A search of Firlie’s computers and email accounts reveal that Firlie was using internet search services in an attempt to locate the victim and her family as recently as late June 2014.
Between December 12, 2008 and December 26, 2014, Firlie uploaded approximately 120 videos depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct to his account associated with both email addresses, utilizing a website that provided users with remote, “cloud,” storage for media files. On September 13, 2014, Firlie attempted to upload 51 videos depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct to a Google “gmail” address, using a different website that also provided users with remote, “cloud,” storage for media files. That website detected the use of its cloud services for the storage of child pornography and reported the matter to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, who in turn reported the matter to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
On February 3, 2015, a federal search warrant was executed at Firlie’s residence. During execution of the warrant, investigators recovered a large number of computers and other digital storage media. Forensic examination of the seized media showed that Firlie was in possession of more than 600 images, including over 120 videos, depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The images included prepubescent minors and sadistic or masochistic conduct.
As part of his plea agreement, Firlie 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).
Firlie faces a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum of 20 years in prison, followed by up to lifetime of supervised release, for possession of child pornography. U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar has scheduled sentencing for October 19, 2015 at 2:00 p.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 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.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, HSI-Baltimore, Maryland State Police and Anne Arundel County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Myers, who is prosecuting the case.