Home Richmond Press Releases 2009 Child Pornographers Plead Guilty in Separate Hearings

Child Pornographers Plead Guilty in Separate Hearings
Ian Zearley, Mark Church, and Patrick William Kreutzer Admitted to Possessing Child Porn Today in U.S. District Court

U.S. Attorney’s Office November 05, 2009
  • Western District of Virginia (540) 857-2250

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA—In separate and unrelated cases, three men pled guilty today in U.S. District Court to various charges related to the transportation, receipt and possession of child pornography.

The defendants, Ian A. Zearley, 28, of Charlottesville, Mark Church, 41, of Louisa, and Patrick William Kreutzer, 37, of Mineral, Virginia, appeared before the Honorable Judge Norman K. Moon today and admitted to criminal acts involving child pornography.

“Protecting our children is the most important responsibility of law enforcement. The child pornography cases presented here today, and others like them throughout the Western District of Virginia, are examples of the unwavering commitment the United States Attorney’s Office has placed on putting an end to child exploitation in any form,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today.

This morning in District Court, Zearley waived his right to indictment and instead pled guilty to a two-count information charging him with one count of receiving child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography. The defendant faces a period of incarceration between five and 20 years for the receipt charge and up to 10 years for the possession charge.

This investigation began as a proactive enforcement case by the Charlottesville Police Department. Working in an undercover capacity, a detective with that department logged onto a popular file-sharing program and began looking for shared images that could contain child pornography. After identifying one or more items in the defendant’s shared folder that appeared to be child pornography, detectives traced the IP address to Zearley’s home, and subsequently executed a search warrant at his home. As a result of the search, a laptop computer and a thumb drive belonging to the defendant were recovered. Both devices were found to contain child pornography.

Church also waived his right to indictment today in District Court and instead pled guilty to a one-count Information charging him with possession of child pornography. As part of the defendant’s plea agreement, he will be sentenced to five years’ incarceration and 15 years of supervised release.

This investigation started after Church’s friend brought Church’s computer to a repair shop. While working on the computer, a technician at the repair shop discovered images of child pornography and advised his supervisor, they immediately took action and contacted law enforcement. Following the execution of a search warrant, the defendant admitted to downloading child pornography. Numerous images of child pornography were recovered from disks found at the defendant’s home.

Already under indictment, Kreutzer pled guilty to one count of transporting child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography. The defendant faces a period of incarceration between five and 20 years for the transportation charge and up to 10 years for the possession charge.

The investigation into Kreutzer began after he started an online chat with an undercover member of law enforcement posing as the mother of a 7-year-old girl. The “mother” and Kreutzer chatted about the possibility of the defendant engaging in sexual acts with her purported daughter. The two chatted for a period of at least three months, during which time the defendant sent images containing child pornography, both via the United States mail and the Internet, to the “mother.” The defendant has admitted to being in possession of child pornography. As a result of a search warrant, agents discovered that Kreutzer used his computer to transmit numerous images of child pornography to other individuals.

In addition to the three above defendants, last week in U.S. District Court, Daniel Edward Walsh, 53, of Staunton, Virginia, pled guilty to one count of receiving child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography before the Honorable Magistrate Judge B. Waugh Crigler. The defendant faces a period of incarceration between five and 20 years for the receipt charge and up to 10 years for the possession charge.

The investigation of Walsh began when members of the Southern Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (SOVA ICAC) found that Walsh had one or more apparent child pornography videos available for download from a popular file-sharing website. The Staunton Police Department and SOVA ICAC executed a search warrant at Walsh’s home. Walsh’s computer was seized and analyzed, revealing numerous videos and images of child pornography.

The investigations of these cases were conducted by the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Secret Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Charlottesville Police Department, the Staunton Police Department, the Southern Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Nancy S. Healey is prosecuting these cases for the United States.

These cases were brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006, by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

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