DENVER - A man from Athens, Greece, was arrested on Tuesday at Denver International Airport and charged with illegally traveling to the United States with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with minors. U.S. Attorney David Gaouette, District of Colorado, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Special Agent in Charge Kumar Kibble announced the arrest.
Georgios Sgouros, 42, of Athens, Greece, made his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Denver on June 16, where he was advised of the charges pending against him, and the related penalties. He is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing and detention hearing on June 18.
According to the ICE affidavit supporting the Criminal Complaint, an ICE special agent on Jan. 28, posed in an undercover capacity as a single mother with two girls, ages 5 and 7. While in an undercover capacity, the special agent engaged in an internet chat with a man who expressed interest in traveling to Colorado to have sex with the two children.
During the chat the man and the undercover agent also discussed the logistics of where he would stay during his visit, and how they would meet at the airport. During the next several months, the man and the undercover agent exchanged emails as well as private chats on the internet. On June 13 and 14, the man, identified as Georgios Sgouros, emailed the undercover agent his travel itinerary from Athens to Denver. On June 15, Sgouros was admitted into the United States by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at Philadelphia International Airport. He arrived in the United States aboard a flight from Amsterdam. He then flew from Philadelphia to Denver, where he was met by ICE special agents and taken into custody.
"This sex tourist was sadly mistaken in thinking he could travel to the United States and exploit children to satisfy his twisted desires," said Kumar Kibble, special agent in charge of the ICE office in Denver. "We work closely with officials in other nations to ensure pedophiles cannot cross our borders to exploit children in this country and abroad. Today's announcement should send a clear message that child sexual tourism will not be tolerated in our global village." Kibble oversees a four-state area which includes Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming.
Sgouros is charged with one count of travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, which carries a penalty of not more than 30 years in federal prison. He is also charged with one count of aggravated sexual abuse with children, attempt, which carries a penalty of not less than 30 years in federal prison.
This case was investigated by ICE.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Judith Smith, District of Colorado is prosecuting this case.
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 12,800 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.
This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.
For more information about Project Safe Childhood, visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.