Former Children’s Minister Sentenced to Ninety-Seven Months in Federal Prison for Child Pornography Conviction
ALBUQUERQUE – Derek M. Schwartzrock, 35, of Albuquerque, N.M., was sentenced this morning to 97 months in federal prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release for his child pornography conviction. Schwartzrock will be required to register as a sex offender after he completes his prison sentence.
Schwartzrock’s sentence was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Steven C. Yarbrough, Special Agent in Charge Dennis A. Ulrich, II, of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in El Paso, Texas, and Chief Pete N. Kassetas of the New Mexico State Police (NMSP).
Schwartzrock was arrested by HSI and the NMSP on April 3, 2013, on a criminal complaint alleging that he received and possessed child pornography in Bernalillo County, N.M. At the time, Schwartzrock was a children’s minister in an Albuquerque-area church. He has been in federal custody since his arrest. On April 24, 2013, Schwartzrock was indicted and charged with three counts of receipt of child pornography and two counts of possession of child pornography.
On July 9, 2013, Schwartzrock entered a guilty plea to Count 2 of the indictment charging him with receipt of child pornography. Schwartzrock acknowledged that HSI and NMSP executed a search warrant at his residence on April 3, 2013 and seized computers and computer-related media. The search warrant was issued based on an undercover investigation by HSI in Philadelphia that began in Oct. 2012, and targeted individuals who used a photo-sharing website to possess, receive and distribute child pornography. HSI in Albuquerque began investigating Schwartzrock in mid-March 2013 after HSI in Philadelphia determined that an individual in Albuquerque was accessing the targeted website and learned that Schwartzrock was the subscriber for the IP Address that allegedly was used to download sexually explicit images of children.
Schwartzrock admitted voluntarily participating in a recorded interview on April 3, 2013. During the interview, he admitted that he began looking for images of naked boys, with a preference for elementary school aged children, several months earlier and that he downloaded child pornography images from the Internet. Schwartzrock also acknowledged that a forensic preview of his computers and computer-related media have uncovered over 12,000 images consistent with child pornography and child erotica.
“Child pornography offenses are terrible crimes that involve the sexual abuse and exploitation of the most innocent members of our communities,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Steven C. Yarbrough. “It is particularly distressing when those who work with children commit these crimes. Thanks to the vigilance of our law enforcement partners, Derek Schwartzrock will no longer be around children but instead will be going to federal prison.”
“It is always disturbing to see a person who through their employment has been entrusted with our children is found guilty of these types of charges,” said NMSP Chief Kassetas. “The New Mexico State Police is fully committed to investigating those who would participate in the exploitation of our children through these types of images. This case is another example of how Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and New Mexico State Police in cooperation with the United State Attorney’s Office are leveraging their resources to protect our children. Though I take great pride in NMSP’s involvement in this case, the citizens of New Mexico should understand that there is much more work to be done in combating the exploitation of children through the internet and NMSP is committed to continue these efforts.”
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of HSI, the NMSP and the New Mexico Regional Forensic Lab. It was prosecuted by former Assistant U.S. Attorney Charlyn E. Rees and Assistant U.S. Attorney Marisa A. Lizarraga as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and DOJ’s Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/.
The Operation also was brought as a part of the New Mexico Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force’s mission, which is to locate, track, and capture Internet child sexual predators and Internet child pornographers in New Mexico. There are 64 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies associated with the ICAC Task Force, which is funded by a grant administered by the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office. Anyone with information relating to suspected child predators and suspected child abuse is encouraged to contact federal or local law enforcement.