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Child Exploitation

Indiana man sentenced to 38 years in prison for producing child pornography

INDIANAPOLIS - A local man was sentenced to 38 years in prison on Monday following his conviction at trial for producing child pornography with two minors. This case resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Indiana State Police, and the Indiana police departments of Greenfield, Carmel and Kokomo.

Dale E. Russell, 48, of Carmel, Ind., was sentenced May 17 in the Southern District of Indiana to 456 months in federal prison for producing child pornography. Following his release from prison, he will serve a lifetime of supervised release, during which he must have no contact with minors.

Russell was convicted after a three-day jury trial in March. During the investigation, Russell fled to Mexico from 2007 to 2009. In August 2009, Russell was expelled from Mexico and was returned to the United States. He was arrested by ICE agents when he landed in Los Angeles.

Russell was convicted of producing child pornography on four separate occasions involving two minor victims. The evidence at trial showed that Russell set up Web sites in 2004 for the victims under the pretense they were modeling. He then had various photo sessions with them and placed many of these pictures on the websites.

The child pornography images charged in the indictment were discovered on a computer of an unrelated offender in Canada. The jury rejected Russell's defense that the pictures were artistic expressions and not child pornography.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gayle L. Helart and A. Brant Cook, Southern District of Indiana, successfully prosecuted the case.

"These predators that prey on society's most vulnerable population," said Daniel T. Dill, resident agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Indianapolis. "ICE is committed to apprehending individuals who sexually exploit our children and deprive them of their innocence. We will continue working with federal, state and local agencies to investigate such reprehensible actions."

This investigation was 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. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 12,000 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.