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Child Exploitation
02/10/2012

Maryland man sentenced to prison for sexually abusing a child to produce child pornography

BALTIMORE – A Maryland man was sentenced to 30 years in prison for sexually abusing a child to produce child pornography following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Thomas Leroy Griffin, Jr., 32, formerly of Hagerstown and Rosedale, Md., was sentenced Friday to 30 years in prison followed by lifetime supervised release by U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett. Judge Bennett also ordered that upon his release from prison, Griffin 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 Griffin's plea agreement, on at least five occasions beginning when the female victim was five or six years old, and over the course of approximately six years until August 2010 when she was under the age of 12, Griffin engaged in sexually explicit conduct with the victim in order to produce a video of that conduct. On Dec. 15, 2010, the victim's mother discovered a videotape documenting Griffin's sexual abuse of the child.

Griffin also pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of a minor in Washington County Circuit Court. The Washington County State's Attorney's Office will recommend a 30 year sentence to be served concurrent to his federal sentence.

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. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.

This case was brought 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 United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood combines federal, state and local resources to better identify, 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, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office and the Washington County State's Attorney's Office assisted in the investigation and prosecution.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Judson T. Mihok.