LONDON – A United Kingdom citizen was convicted and sentenced Wednesday to five years in prison for sexually abusing children to produce child pornography, following a joint investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Dorset Police, and the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Command.
Mark Luscombe, 29, of Verwood, England, was sentenced Jan. 29 to five years in prison at Bournemouth Crown Court. On Dec. 19, he pleaded guilty to eight counts of making indecent photographs of a child, five counts of distributing indecent photographs of a child, sexual activity with a child and arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offense. On Jan. 29, he also pleaded guilty to possessing an extreme pornographic image.
On Oct. 23, Luscombe had initiated online conversations with an undercover HSI special agent in San Jose, Calif., who was posing as the father of a 9-year-old girl. Luscombe distributed 93 images and videos depicting child pornography to the undercover HSI agent, who then contacted the Dorset Police. On Dec. 4, the Dorset Police executed a search warrant at Luscombe’s U.K. residence, with the assistance of HSI London and NCA.
HSI London Attaché Matthew J. Etre said, "Protecting children from exploitation is one of the most important missions we have and, as this case demonstrates, it takes the collaboration of law enforcement agencies around the world to tackle this crime. HSI is committed to working with partners such as the Dorset Police and NCA’s CEOP Command to arrest individuals who commit such heinous acts and ensure that they are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
Detective Chief Inspector Chris Naughton of the Dorset Police Pedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT) said, "POLIT is committed to targeting and bringing to justice those in Dorset who are sexually exploiting children over the Internet. The message is simple and very clear: if you commit these crimes we will hunt you down, arrest you and bring you to justice."
The POLIT is a new team formed within the Child Abuse Investigation Team (CAIT), which works closely with partner agencies and other police forces to identify and prosecute offenders and protect vulnerable children from sexual exploitation.
Dorset Police is also urging parents to be aware and alert to the signs of online grooming and abuse.
Parents are encouraged to visit the CEOP website at http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/ for up-to-date advice on how to keep their children safe online.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers.
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, 1-800-843-5678.
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.