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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Ohio

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 14, 2017

Canadian man indicted for sexual exploitation of a minor

A Canadian man indicted on one count of sexual exploitation of a minor, said U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman and Steve Francis, Special Agent in Charge of HSI’s Detroit Office.

Joseph B. Haggerty, 49, of New Brunswick, is accused of coercing a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of that conduct. This took place between May 14 and July 15, 2017, according to the indictment.

Haggerty was arrested last month at a park in Rocky River. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents in Austin, Texas, received a tip that Haggerty had been soliciting nude images from children. Haggerty was scheduled to fly to Cleveland from Toronto on Thursday. HSI agents in Cleveland followed him upon his arrival in Ohio to Linden Park in Rocky River, where he met a minor female, according to a 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 the affidavit.

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

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 an estimated five other potential victims.

The investigation is ongoing.

“This defendant preyed upon children,” Herdman said. “This case is another stark reminder to parents that they need to know who their children are communicating with on social media and in real life.”

“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.

If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violations. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and, in most cases, it will be less than the maximum.

This case was investigated by HSI’s Cleveland and Austin offices, the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the Rocky River Police Department and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael A. Sullivan.

An indictment is a charge is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Mike Tobin 216.622.3651 michael.tobin@usdoj.gov
Updated September 14, 2017