Robert Vincent Peace, 45, of Lake Forest, Calif., is charged with three felony counts of lewd acts on a child under 14; six felony counts of lewd acts on a child; three felony counts of contacting a child with the intent to commit lewd acts on a child; two felony counts of using a minor for sex acts; and one felony count each of using a minor for distribution of obscene material and possession and control of child pornography with a sentencing enhancement allegation for substantial sexual conduct with a child. Peace is also charged with possessing almost 2,000 child pornography images and videos.
Peace was arraigned in state court Tuesday, at which time prosecutors requested he be held on $500,000 bond. If convicted of all of the charges, Peace faces a maximum sentence of more than 25 years in state prison.
The charges are the result of an investigation by officers assigned to the Orange County Child Exploitation Task Force (OCCETF), including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD), and Huntington Beach Police Department (HBPD). The Orange County District Attorney's Office is prosecuting the case.
"Given the defendant's alleged activities on the Internet and his involvement with girls' recreational soccer, there's a possibility there are other young victims we don't know about," said Joseph Macias, assistant special agent in charge for ICE Homeland Security Investigations in Orange County. "While our investigation is ongoing, we want to remind parents to warn their children not to interact with strangers over the Internet. HSI will continue to aggressively target online child predators, but parents, because of their proximity, are the first line of defense."
In 2009, Peace is accused of meeting 13-year-old "Jane Doe" from Endicott, N.Y., in an Internet video-chat room on Stickam.com. He is accused of exchanging messages with the victim and instructing her to send him sexually explicit videos of herself masturbating over a two-year period.
After receiving the videos, Peace is accused of threatening Jane Doe that he would post the explicit videos on the Internet if she did not continue to send him new pornographic images. Without the victim's knowledge, the defendant is accused of posting some of the child pornography videos featuring Jane Doe online.
In addition to the videos of Jane Doe, Peace is accused of being in possession of more than 1,500 images and more than 300 videos of graphic, sexually explicit child pornography on his computer featuring young teenage girls. The videos include webcam footage.
In February 2011, a family member of the defendant discovered some of the child pornography and turned over Peace's portable hard drive to OCSD. The OCCETF launched an investigation and the hard drive was submitted to the Orange County Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory (OCRCFL) for analysis. OCRCFL is a full-service forensics laboratory and training center sponsored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation devoted to the examination of digital evidence. The lab creates a unified body of expert forensic examiners from multiple law enforcement agencies collaborates to investigate crimes ranging from homicide and child pornography to terrorism and fraud. Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas is Chairman of OCRCFL's Local Executive Board.
Through that forensic analysis, investigators discovered the thousands of images of child pornography and learned of the 13-year-old victim in New York.
The defendant was arrested Jan. 20, in a traffic stop by HBPD, ICE HSI, and OCSD. Peace is accused of being in possession of additional images of child pornography in his home and vehicle, including images of Jane Doe.
Peace is a citizen of the United Kingdom. He formerly served as a coach of a recreational soccer team for boys under age of 13, the Irvine Blades.
Peace is the 22nd defendant to be identified and arrested by OCCETF since its inception in April 2011. OCCETF is a law enforcement collaboration aimed at information-sharing and investigations to arrest and prosecute child pornographers, child sex tourists and facilitators, human smugglers and traffickers of minors, criminal aliens convicted of offenses against minors, and aliens deported for child exploitation offenses who have returned illegally to the Unites States. Current task force members include HBPD, ICE HSI, OCSD, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the U.S. Secret Service.
Anyone with additional information regarding this case, or who may have been a victim, is encouraged to contact Supervising District Attorney Investigator Lou Gutierrez at (714) 347-8794 or ICE's toll-free 24-hour tip line at (866) DHS-2ICE. Individuals may also report information online at ICE.gov/tips.
Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Walker of the Sexual Assault Unit is prosecuting this case.