"Too many individuals mistakenly believe the anonymity of cyberspace shields them from scrutiny," said Brian Moskowitz, Special Agent in Charge of ICE for Michigan and Ohio. "ICE remains committed to investigating this type of on-line activity to prevent the exploitation of children."
Gregory G. Lockhart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Gerald A. O'Farrell, Assistant Inspector in Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service, announced the plea entered today before United States District Judge Thomas M. Rose.
According to a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Porter began chatting online with "chrissy 13" in June 2007 thinking that he was chatting with a 13-year old girl. He was actually chatting with an undercover postal inspector. Porter sent pornographic images of himself and sent "chrissy 13" $60 with the understanding that she would use the money to buy a webcam so she could send pornographic images of herself to him.
At the time, Porter was on parole for a sex offense involving a minor in Greene County. Postal Inspectors went to Porter's house in January 2008 where they found a computer containing approximately 25 images of child pornography. Porter was prohibited from using a computer as a condition of his parole. Porter's plea agreement also calls for him to forfeit all computer equipment in his possession.
"Officers patrolling the Internet are as vital to our community's safety as are officers patrolling the streets," Lockhart said. "Parents need to help their children understand the dangers they face on the Internet."
Porter will remain on electronic monitoring until he is sentenced.
This case was brought as part of "Project Safe Childhood." In February 2006, the Department of Justice launched Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorney's Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, and identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.
This case was also investigated under Operation Predator, which is 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. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 11,600 individuals.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline 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.