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Child Exploitation

Maryland man sentenced to more than 7 years in prison for distributing child pornography

GREENBELT, Md. — A Bowie, Md., man was sentenced Wednesday to 90 months in prison, followed by lifetime supervised release for distributing child pornography following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Maryland State Police.

Steven Woolley, 29, was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow, who also ordered that upon his release from prison, Woolley 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.

According to the plea agreement, on Jan. 5, 2011, Woolley made 133 files available for distribution on a file sharing program, 77 of which had titles indicative of child pornography. An undercover officer downloaded 11 videos from Woolley which depicted children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. On Jan. 28, 2011, Maryland State Police executed a search warrant at Woolley's residence and seized computers and other digital media. Woolley admitted that he used multiple file sharing programs to store and trade child pornography. A subsequent forensic examination of the computers and hard drives used by Woolley revealed approximately 56 videos documenting the sexual exploitation of children, including the videos downloaded by the undercover officer. The folder where the videos were stored was titled “Pedo,” and had sub-folders that divided the videos based on the age of the child.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI 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. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or its online tip form at http://www.ice.gov/webform/hsi-tip-form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc.

The investigation was conducted by HSI Baltimore and the Maryland State Police, Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa Marie Freitas of the U.S. Justice Department, Criminal Division, Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section.