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Child Exploitation

Maryland man sentenced to 40 years in prison for producing and possessing child pornography

Repeatedly sexually abused a child under the age of eight to produce pornography; possessed over 600 images and videos of child pornography, including sadistic and violent conduct

BALTIMORE – An Ellicott City, Md., man was sentenced today to 40 years in prison followed by lifetime supervised release for sexually exploiting a child to produce child pornography and possessing child pornography. The sentence is the result of an extensive investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Howard County, Md., Police Department.

Earlier today, Jeffrey Trantham, 24, was sentenced to 40 years in prison by U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake. Upon his release from prison, Trantham must register as a sex offender in the place where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).

The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein, Special Agent in Charge William Winter of ICE HSI in Baltimore, Howard County Police Chief William McMahon and Howard County State’s Attorney Dario J. Broccolino.

“The sentencing today of Jeffrey Trantham sends a strong message that law enforcement will not tolerate such despicable crimes,” said Special Agent in Charge Winter. "Our children have an absolute right to grow up free from the fear of sexual exploitation. ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations, along with our law enforcement partners, will continue to relentlessly pursue predators who sexually abuse children, whether that abuse is physical in nature or if it is accomplished by exploiting their images.”

According to Trantham’s plea agreement, after an individual in Canada received images of a prepubescent minor being sexually abused by a man appearing to be Trantham. Howard County Police officers executed a search warrant at Trantham’s residence on Dec. 12, 2009. Trantham admitted that between August and September 2009, he repeatedly sexually abused a child under the age of eight. He further admitted that he took sexually explicit photos of her and sent them to at least three other people over the Internet. He also sent images of the child via a live broadcast through a web camera.

Further investigation of Trantham’s computer revealed over 600 images and many additional videos of child pornography, including images depicting the repeated sexual abuse of the victim. Most of the images and videos found on the computer involved prepubescent girls and contained images portraying sadistic or masochistic conduct, or other depictions of violence.

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.

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.

U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein expressed appreciation to the London Ontario Canada Police Department, who brought this matter to the attention of the Howard County Police.

Mr. Rosenstein commended ICE HSI, the Howard County Police Department and Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation and prosecution, and thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Judson T. Mihok, who prosecuted the case.