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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 6, 2017

Former DEA Agent Sent to Prison on Child Pornography Charges

HOUSTON – A Massachusetts man who formerly resided in McAllen has been ordered to federal prison following his conviction of one count of access with intent to view child pornography, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez. James Patrick Burke, 39, was a former special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and pleaded guilty June 2, 2016.

 

Today, U.S. District Judge Alfred H. Bennett took into consideration Burke’s conduct as well as his law enforcement and military service and ordered him to serve 84 months in prison. In handing down the sentence, Judge Bennett stated he was repulsed by the crime Burke committed and was unmoved by the lengthy statement Burke made in court in which he attempted to shift the blame elsewhere. Burke was further ordered to pay $4,000 in restitution to a known victim and will serve 15 years of supervised release following completion of his prison term, during which time he will have to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict his access to children and the Internet. He will also be ordered to register as a sex offender.

 

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, acts of violence and children younger than two years of age. Some of the images are of known victims as identified through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

 

The FBI conducted the investigation.

 

Previously released on bond, Burke was taken into custody following the sentencing today where he will remain pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

 

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."

Topic: 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated April 6, 2017