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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 29, 2016

Twice Convicted Pedophile Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Possession of Child Pornography

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge George L. Russell III sentenced William Sylvia, age 71, of Hagerstown, Maryland, today to 10 years in prison, followed by lifetime supervised release, for possession of child pornography. Judge Russell ordered that Sylvia must continue to 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 and Special Agent in Charge Kevin Perkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office.

According to Sylvia’s plea agreement, in approximately 1995, Sylvia was convicted of raping a child in Massachusetts, and sentenced to seven to 10 years’ incarceration.  On September 3, 2004, in the Circuit Court of Berkeley County, West Virginia, Sylvia was convicted of sexual abuse by a parent, custodian or guardian, and of third degree sexual abuse, and was sentenced to one to five years in prison. 

Sylvia admitted that from April 1, 2013 through July 13, 2014, he used a computer to send, receive and collect child pornography.  For example, on April 1, 2013, Sylvia sent another user six visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. On September 4, 2014, law enforcement obtained a search warrant for Sylvia’s email account which revealed emails sent and received by Sylvia that included attachments of child pornography.

During the time of this investigation, Sylvia was a registered sex offender living at a motel in Hagerstown.  On February 20, 2015, a search warrant was executed at Sylvia’s residence at the motel and law enforcement seized a desktop computer, camera, flash drive and other digital media.  A forensic examination of the desktop computer and the flash drive recovered additional images of minors – including prepubescent minors – engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

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 FBI for its work in the investigation.  Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul E. Budlow who prosecuted the case.

Topic: 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated January 29, 2016