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Child Exploitation
06/03/2011

Connecticut man charged in federal child porn case

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – A federal grand jury indictment was unsealed Friday in New Haven charging Thomas E. Stickle, 39, formerly of Torrington, Conn., and Hartford, Conn., with receiving, possessing and distributing child pornography in a case investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Connecticut State Police.

The indictment alleges that Stickle received and distributed images of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. Stickle has been detained in state custody since his arrest on May 21, 2010, for violating the terms of his probation in connection with a prior state conviction for possession of child pornography.

If convicted of the charge of receipt and distribution of child pornography, Stickle faces a mandatory minimum 15 year prison term, a maximum term of 40 years, and a fine of up to $250,000. If convicted of the charge of possession of child pornography, Stickle faces a mandatory minimum prison term of 10 years, a maximum term of 20 years, and a fine of up to $250,000. The penalties in this case are increased based on Stickle's prior state conviction for possession of child pornography.

U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut David B. Fein stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

ICE investigates child pornography cases as 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 on its toll-free at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. 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