The guilty plea resulted from an investigation conducted by HSI, the Mesa County Sheriff's Office, and officers from the Internet Crimes against Children (ICAC) Task Force.
Robert Arthur Brewster, 41, of Clifton, Colo., pleaded guilty July 10 before U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson to producing child pornography. Brewster appeared at the change of plea hearing in custody. He was indicted by a federal grand jury on Feb. 26 and is scheduled for sentencing Sept. 24.
According to court documents, including the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, beginning on Jan. 7, 2010, the defendant initiated contact using an instant message program with an individual whom he believed to be a 13-year-old girl living in Kentucky. In truth, the 13-year-old girl was an undercover Kentucky-based ICAC task force officer.
Over the following month, the defendant engaged in multiple conversations where he actively shared multiple images and videos depicting child pornography in an effort to entice the undercover officer to participate in the production of child pornography for him. Brewster went as far as sending a new web camera to the undercover officer.
During the conversations, the defendant admitted to producing child pornography himself and sent three of the images he produced as proof. All three constituted child pornography, were of a minor child to whom he had access, and in each of the pictures the tattoo on his lower left arm was visible.
A search warrant was executed at his residence in Clifton. Media seized from Brewster's residence yielded 870 images of child pornography and 22 videos of child pornography on his computer. Among the media were the images of the minor child to whom he had access to as described above, revealing 23 images of that minor child, of which 20 were actual child pornography.
"The production of child pornography is one of the most serious crimes prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office," said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. "Thanks to the hard work of Homeland Security Investigations and the Mesa County Sheriff's Office, working closely with Assistant U.S. Attorneys, the defendant was arrested, and thus prevented from continuing the sexual assaults of his minor victim, in essence rescuing his victim from continued exploitation."
"The sexual exploitation of children is a heinous crime that can scar and debilitate its victims forever," said Kumar Kibble, special agent in charge of HSI Denver. "To rescue these innocent victims, HSI works in tandem with the U.S. Attorney's Office and our international, state and local law enforcement partners to vigilantly protect our communities from child sex predators."
Brewster faces a mandatory minimum 15 years in federal prison, and a maximum of up to 30 years in federal prison. He also faces a term of supervised release of not less than five years, and up to life. In addition, Brewster faces a fine of up to $250,000 as well as restitution. He will also be required to register as a sex offender. Finally, he has agreed to forfeit all of his computers and computer media used in the production of and or containing child pornography, including three laptop computers, a computer tower, two cameras, a web camera, two thumb drives and one external hard drive.
Brewster is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Shana Martin and Assistant U.S. Attorney Alecia Riewerts Wolak.
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 hotline at 1-866-347-2423 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.