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Child Exploitation
08/01/2013

Convicted child rapist pleads guilty to federal child pornography charge

Plea agreement requires 15-year prison sentence, followed by lifetime supervised release

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A convicted child rapist pleaded guilty July 30 to child pornography charges, resulting from an investigation by special agents with U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

John W. Vandermeer, 62, of Albuquerque, was arrested Dec. 4, 2012 on a criminal complaint alleging he received and possessed child pornography in Bernalillo County, N.M., between January 2011 and November 2012.

On Dec. 19, 2012, Vandermeer was indicted for receiving and possessing child pornography. The indictment alleged that Vandermeer received child pornography from January 2009 through April 16, 2011, and that he possessed child pornography in December 2012 in Bernalillo County.

Under the terms of his plea agreement, Vandermeer will be sentenced to 15 years in federal prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.

During the July 30 proceedings, Vandermeer pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography. In his plea agreement, Vandermeer acknowledged that HSI special agents and New Mexico State Police officers executed a search warrant at his residence Dec. 4, 2012, and seized computers and computer-related media.

The search warrant was issued based on an undercover investigation by New Mexico State Police that began in November 2012. The investigation targeted individuals who possessed, received and distributed child pornography. The investigation revealed that an Internet Protocol address that was subscribed to Vandermeer was being used to download child pornography images and videos through a peer-to-peer file-sharing program.

Vandermeer also acknowledged voluntarily participating in a recorded interview on Dec. 4, 2012, during which he admitted downloading child pornography images and videos of prepubescent children. He also admitted having a prior conviction for raping a child younger than 14 years from Massachusetts.

According to court filings, during the interview, Vandermeer stated he moved from Massachusetts to Albuquerque in 1987 after he was convicted of child rape. Vandermeer also stated he was involved in Albuquerque theater productions involving children.

Vandermeer faces the enhanced penalty of a mandatory minimum 15-year prison sentence because of his prior sex offense conviction. He remains in federal custody pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Vandermeer will forfeit his computers and computer-related media.

The Online Predator Unit of the New Mexico State Police and the New Mexico Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory participated in this investigation.

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.