United States Attorney Announces Local Efforts Supporting National Strategy for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction
|U.S. Attorney’s Office August 12, 2010|
SACRAMENTO, CA—United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced the efforts being made in support of the Department of Justice’s recently introduced National Strategy for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction. The National Strategy submitted to Congress last week features the first-ever comprehensive threat assessment of the dangers facing children from child pornography, online enticement, child sex tourism, and commercial sexual exploitation, and it outlines a blueprint to strengthen the fight against these crimes. In announcing the strategy, Attorney General Holder described it as “taking our fight against child exploitation and sexual abuse to the next level.”
The overarching goal of the National Strategy is to combat child exploitation by increasing collaboration and cooperation among federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners, as well as non-law enforcement partners. New facets of the enforcement strategy include the United States Marshals Service’s launch of a nationwide program targeting the top 500 most-dangerous, noncompliant sex offenders in the country. The Department also will create a national database to allow federal, state, tribal, local, and international law enforcement partners to deconflict their cases with each other, engage in undercover operations from a portal facilitated by the database, and to share information and intelligence on dangerous offenders as well as future threats and trends. The National Strategy reinforces the Department’s commitment to the Project Safe Childhood (PSC) initiative that was launched in 2006.
Since Fiscal Year 2006, the Department of Justice has filed 8,464 PSC cases against 8,637 offenders. Prosecutors in the Eastern District of California have helped lead the fight in this area and have filed more than 360 such cases in the last five years. For three years in a row, the Eastern District of California led the nation in the number of child exploitation indictments.
Since the start of this year, this office has indicted 38 cases charging 38 defendants with various sexual and Internet crimes against children including receipt, distribution, and possession of child pornography, travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor, and production and attempted production of child pornography. Our prosecutors continue to ask for and receive sentences intended not only to punish the offender for his conduct, but also to deter others from committing such offenses.
Activity in Sacramento division cases in August include the following:
- Travis Marshall Grey, 26, of Woodland, was indicted today for receipt, distribution, and possession of child pornography, and for failure to register as a sex offender.
- Richard Duane Silva, 39, of Sacramento, pleaded guilty August 9, 2010, to possession of child pornography. In 2006, he was convicted in Sacramento Superior Court of possession of child pornography and sentenced to 90 days in county jail. During probation search on September 3, 2008, officers found 103 videos and digital photographs of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct on Silva’s computer.
- Thomas Neal, 41 of Roseville, was indicted on August 4, 2010, for possessing and receiving visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
- Michael L. Hamilton Jr., 24, of North Highlands was sentenced on August 2, 2010, to five years in prison for possession of visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
- Jeffery Rogers, 59, of Shingle Springs, was charged on August 4, 2010, with possessing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Activity in cases in the Sacramento area since January 2010.
- Daniel James O’Neil Jr. 48, of Sacramento, was sentenced on March 3, 2010 to six-and-a-half years for possession of child pornography.
- Leroy Howell, 53, of Marysville, was sentenced on March 5, 2010, to 10 years and 11 months in prison for possessing and distributing child pornography.
- Manuel Keith Vasquez, 34, of Roseville was sentenced on March 7, 2010, to 20 years in prison for possessing, receiving, and transporting visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
- Timothy Yourcheck, 46, of Stockton, was sentenced on February 12, 2010, to 10 years in prison for possessing more than 70 movie files depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
- Stephen McKesson, 24, of Citrus Heights, was sentenced on February 12, 2010, to 19 years and eight months in prison. McKesson admitted to sexually penetrating his 13-year-old victim with foreign objects.
- Marvin Chavelle Epps, 23, of Sacramento, pleaded guilty in April 2010, to sex trafficking of a minor. He is scheduled for sentencing on August 30, 2010.
- Reginald Wilson, 23, of Sacramento, was sentenced on July 26, 2010, to seven and a half years in prison to be followed by 15 years of supervised release for sex trafficking of minors.
- Douglas William Howay, 31, of Olivehurst, was sentenced on July 9, 2010, to eight years and two months in prison to be followed by a 10-year term of supervised release for possession of child pornography.
- Dominick West, 29, of Sacramento, was sentenced on July 16, 2010, to 10 years and one month in prison for interstate transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
“Children are the most helpless members of society,” U.S. Attorney Wagner said. “We, therefore, have the highest obligation to protect them from becoming victims of sexual exploitation.”
United States Attorney Wagner noted that a number of studies indicate a strong correlation between child pornography offenses and contact sex offenses against children. The National Juvenile Online Victimization (NJOV) study revealed contact offenses in one of every six cases that began as a child pornography investigation with no prior knowledge by law enforcement of possible contact offenses by the target. While no study can quantify the risk that any given child pornography offender poses for future contact offenses against children, the significant correlation between child pornography offenses and contact offenses signals that the risk is present. Sadly, many cases summarized above, corroborate the results of this study.
These cases are investigated by many federal, state, and local agencies and task forces. Among them are the Sacramento Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, managed by the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department, the Sacramento High Tech Crimes Task Force and the FBI’s Innocence Lost Task Force, ICE Homeland Security Investigations, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Secret Service, the Sacramento Police Department, and Sheriff’s Departments in Sacramento, Yolo, Yuba, and San Joaquin Counties.
Executive Assistant United States Attorney Laurel White serves as the Sacramento coordinator for Project Safe Childhood, and the office recently hired a new prosecutor who is dedicated solely to prosecuting PSC cases.
Part of the Department’s new strategy is to educate the public, particularly parents and children, about the dangers that can be associated with the Internet. Prosecutors and law enforcement partners in the Sacramento Division have for several years engaged in outreach and education efforts in schools, parent-teacher organizations, civic groups, and other forums. Since January, Sacramento Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force members have addressed thousands of students, teachers, and parents at all grade levels. This work will continue.
Internet safety resources can be found at these sites: www.ProjectSafeChildhood.gov and at www.NetSmartz.org as well as by visiting the links on the Eastern District of California’s PSC site at: http://www.justice.gov/usao/cae/Programs/psc/psc.html.
Please visit: www.projectsafechildhood.gov/docs/natstrategyreport.pdf for more information regarding the National Strategy to Combat Child Exploitation, Prevention and Interdiction