WILMINGTON, Del. — A man from Canada was indicted Tuesday on charges he traveled to Pennsylvania to engage in sexual conduct with a minor. The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
David Gellad, 43, of Rosemere, Quebec, is charged with traveling from Montreal to Philadelphia International Airport, then traveling by car to pick up the victim near her southeastern Pennsylvania residence on two occasions between March and June 2011. In June 2011, Gellad allegedly traveled from Montreal to Pennsylvania, and then drove the victim to a hotel in Newark, Del., where they engaged in sexual conduct.
The three-count indictment charges Gellad with one count of enticement of a minor and two counts of travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct.
Since October 2010, Gellad had been carrying on an online relationship with the teenager through an iPod Touch, using instant messaging and photo sharing applications.
"Those who prey on our children are one of HSI's top priorities," said John P. Kelleghan, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Philadelphia. "HSI and our law enforcement partners will do everything in our power to hold these predators accountable. Anyone who thinks they can get away with the criminal exploitation of children is mistaken."
HSI agents and the University of Delaware Police Department became aware of the alleged relationship shortly after the June encounter, but Gellad had returned to Canada. A federal criminal complaint and arrest warrant were filed under seal in early June 2011. On July 23, 2011, Gellad was arrested at the Highgate Springs Port of Entry in Swanton, Vt., as he attempted to re-enter the United States. He has been detained in federal custody since his arrest.
If convicted, Gellad faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years to life in prison on the child enticement charge and a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison on the travel charges. He also faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years to life of supervised release following any prison term.
If convicted, he will also be required to register as a sex offender wherever he lives, works or attends school.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE 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. ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.