Kenneth Robert McVicker III, 50, pleaded guilty in October 2013 to traveling in foreign commerce and engaging in illicit sexual conduct with minors, following an international child exploitation probe by Portland-based special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
According to court records, HSI learned of McVicker's activities when an American child pornographer living in Mexico sent an undercover HSI special agent, posing as a child pornography collector, hundreds of illicit images produced by McVicker. The investigation led to McVicker's indictment in Oregon and arrest in Belize after he travelled there to work on a commercial art project. Acting on information provided by HSI, authorities in Ecuador served a local search warrant at McVicker's residence and seized his computer equipment. Forensic examinations of the equipment revealed a vast collection of more than 360,000 images and in excess of 1,300 videos depicting the graphic sexual abuse of young children.
McVicker served 15 years in a Maryland prison for a number of child molestation offenses committed in the 1980s. Following his release, and after completing a term of post-prison supervision, McVicker moved to a small coastal village in Ecuador where he taught English and worked as an artist and soccer coach. While in Ecuador, he sexually abused at least eight young boys between the ages of 5 and 12, took photographs and made videos of the abuse. McVicker distributed the images to child pornography collectors in Canada, India, Thailand and Mexico. Prosecutors say he used the images he created as currency to obtain images of child sexual abuse from others.
"Kenneth McVicker repeatedly abused young children to satisfy his sexual desires, and continued doing so even after moving to another country," said Brad Bench, special agent in charge of HSI Seattle, who oversees Oregon investigations. "Sexual predators who believe they can evade U.S. law by traveling overseas to exploit, violate and abuse children are mistaken. HSI, in close collaboration with its international partners, will use all of the resources at its disposal to track down these offenders and bring them to justice."
In a statement, U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshal praised the "extraordinary efforts of the HSI agents, both here and abroad," in identifying and locating McVicker. Because of those efforts, Marshall said, "Kenneth McVicker will never again be able to sexually abuse a child."
The American living in Mexico who sent the images that launched the investigation into McVicker has been convicted in Oregon of transportation of child pornography. He is currently serving a 15-year federal prison sentence.
This case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Oregon.
This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.