Former DEA Agent Pleads Guilty to Child Pornography Charges
HOUSTON – A Massachusetts man who formerly resided in McAllen has entered a guilty plea to one count of access with intent to view child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. James Patrick Burke, 39, was a former special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Burke came to the attention of law enforcement after investigators found evidence he was accessing files from a website known to contain child pornography. A search warrant was executed at Burke’s McAllen residence on Aug. 14, 2015, at which time investigators seized a laptop computer and a desktop computer. Burke admitted downloaded and viewed child pornography from the Internet, but would use forensic wiping software to delete the images and movies.
The forensic examination revealed remnants of the TOR browser which Burke had used to access the child pornography website as well as forensic wiping software. Agents also found remnants of the movie titles that are suggestive of child pornography.
An examination of what was collected from the server side of the website showed that Burke had accessed a total of 77 threads which contained 345 contact sheets with approximately eight images of child pornography per sheet. These images included children under the age of 12, bondage and acts of violence. Some of the images are of known victims as identified through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Burke entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Alfred H. Bennett who set sentencing for Oct. 20, 2016. At that time, Burke faces up to 10 years imprisonment and a possible $250,000 maximum fine. He was permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing.
The charges are the result of an investigation by the FBI.
This case, prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly Ann Leo, Linda Requenez and Alexandro Benavides, 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.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."