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Child Exploitation
05/06/2008

Former teacher sentenced to 97 months on child pornography charges

LAS VEGAS - A former fifth grade teacher in Pahrump, Nev., has been sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison for receiving child pornography over the Internet as a result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Michael Gogerty, 41, who pleaded guilty to the charges in February, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Robert Jones to 97 months in prison followed by a lifetime of supervision. Until his arrest last year, Gogerty was employed at Hafen Elementary School in the Nye County School District.

According to the case affidavit, the investigation into Gogerty began after ICE received a tip from the Toronto Police Services Sex Crime Unit that a child pornography video file had been posted on the Internet via "yousendit.com." Subscriber information supplied by the Internet provider led ICE agents to the Las Vegas address where Gogerty resides.

During a subsequent consensual search of Gogerty's home, investigators discovered numerous images and video files containing child pornography on his computer. A forensic analysis revealed Gogerty possessed more than 60,000 images containing child pornography, including some depicting sadistic and masochistic conduct and minors under 12.  The court took those factors into consideration in determining Gogerty's sentence.

"Individuals who use positions of power and trust to exploit children will be vigorously prosecuted," said Gregory A. Brower, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada. "This case should send a clear message to such individuals that they will be caught, they will be prosecuted, and they will face lengthy prison terms."

"This sentence is a stern reminder about the consequences awaiting those who use the Internet to sexually exploit innocent children," said Richard Curry, assistant special agent in charge of the ICE office of investigations in Las Vegas. "Some predators mistakenly believe the anonymity of cyberspace shields them from scrutiny; in fact, their use of computers and the Internet have given us new tools in our enforcement efforts to protect children."

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nancy J. Koppe.

Gogerty's arrest is part of Operation Predator, an ongoing ICE enforcement initiative launched in 2003 to identify, investigate, arrest and, in the case of foreign nationals, deport child sex predators. To date, the initiative has resulted in more than 10,000 arrests nationwide, including more than 80 in Nevada.

ICE encourages the reporting of suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline. The number, 1-866-DHS-2ICE, is monitored 24 hours a day. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.