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Press Release

Canadian man arrested at park in Rocky River sentenced to more than 15 years in prison for sexual exploitation of a child

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Ohio

A Canadian man arrested last summer at a park in Rocky River was sentenced to more than 15 years in prison for production of child pornography.

Joseph B. Haggerty, 50, was sentenced to 182 months in prison. He previously pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a child.

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents in Texas received a tip last August that Haggerty had been soliciting nude images from a 13-year-old. Haggerty flew Cleveland from Toronto. HSI agents in Cleveland followed him upon his arrival in Ohio to Linden Park in Rocky River, where he met another minor female, according to court documents.

Haggerty had a reservation at the Days Inn on Lake Avenue in Lakewood. He was carrying a bag with clothing, 12 condoms, a stuffed animal and a package of baby pacifiers, according to court documents.

The minor he met in Rocky River told agents she met Haggerty on Kik in December 2016 and they subsequently communicated via Skype. She said the calls would last hours and Haggerty would direct her to strip naked and engage in sexually explicit conduct, according to court documents.

The girl told her relatives she was going on a camping trip for the weekend but actually planned to go the Lakewood hotel with Haggerty, according to court documents.

HSI agents contacted the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Internet Child Exploitation Unit, which executed search warrants at Haggerty’s home. They found nude images of the Ohio minor, contact information for the child in Texas, as well as evidence of other potential victims.

“This defendant preyed on young girls, emotionally and verbally abusing them and coercing them into sending nude images of themselves,” U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said. “This case is a stark reminder to parents and guardians that they need to know who their children are communicating with online.”

“Through our partnerships with state, local, federal and international law enforcement agencies, HSI will continue to vigorously investigate child exploitation cases like this one to ensure that special agents continue to serve as a powerful barrier between predators and children," said Steve Francis, Special Agent in Charge of HSI’s Detroit Office, which includes Ohio.

This case was investigated by HSI’s Cleveland and Austin offices, with assistance from the Rocky River Police Department and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael A. Sullivan.


Mike Tobin

Updated May 14, 2018

Project Safe Childhood