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Child Exploitation
07/18/2012

Maryland school bus driver sentenced to federal prison for producing child pornography

Kept ledgers denoting personal information of more than 400 children

GREENBELT, Md. – A 29-year-old Prince George's County, Md., school bus driver, who used his cell phone to document his sexual abuse of a child, was sentenced to 55 years in prison for producing child pornography, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Scott Smallwood of Upper Marlboro, Md., was sentenced July 18 by U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus to 55 years in prison, followed by lifetime supervised release, for two counts of producing child pornography. Smallwood has been detained since his arrest in May 2010. Smallwood was employed by Prince George's County Public Schools as a school bus driver, primarily for elementary school aged children.

"A vigilant citizen reported the discovery of child pornography, and remarkable detective work by police and federal agents resulted in the rescue of an abused child," said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. "This case demonstrates the value Project Safe Childhood brings by joining local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and making it a priority to identify unknown abused children and prosecute pedophiles who abuse them."

"Child predators targeting our most vulnerable members of society is a serious matter and even more disturbing when it involves a school bus driver," said HSI Baltimore Special Agent in Charge William Winter. "HSI 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."

According to his guilty plea, on March 15, 2010, Smallwood left a microSD card on the counter of a 7-11 convenience store located in Clinton, Md. That same day, an individual reported to the Prince George's County Police that he found a microSD card from the same store. The individual observed 10 to 15 videos on the microSD card, including images of a man engaged in sexually explicit conduct with a prepubescent male.

On March 17, 2010, the individual provided the microSD card to law enforcement. HSI special agents subsequently identified Smallwood as the person that left the microSD card at the store. Further investigation revealed 13 videos on the microSD card, eight of which depict Smallwood engaged in sexually explicit conduct with a 7-year-old boy, or Smallwood engaging in sexual conduct in front of the child. On May 21, 2010, the boy depicted in the videos was located and interviewed by Prince George's County Department of Social Services.

Smallwood was arrested May 21, 2010. Smallwood admitted he had several inappropriate contacts with the boy and using his cell phone, he produced visual recordings of his sexual contact with the boy. Smallwood admitted that he had the boy over for "sleepovers" where he offered candy in exchange for inappropriate sexual contact. Smallwood also admitted to taking the microSD card containing the sexually explicit videos out of his cell phone in order to destroy it, but inadvertently lost it.

According to court documents and statements made at today's sentencing hearing, Smallwood has, for years, surrounded himself with children. In addition to driving a bus for Prince George's County schools, Smallwood volunteered with his church's youth program, drove buses for Montgomery County summer camps, and participated in child development courses in high school where, as a student, Smallwood worked directly with children in preschool, elementary school and daycare centers. Another 37 videos found on Smallwood's cell phone depict him with approximately 30 different children at church functions, friends' houses and parties.

Law enforcement executed a federal search warrant on Smallwood's residence and seized notebooks with charts and lists denoting personal information of more than 400 children, including the type of underwear worn and a description of various body parts. Some of the charts include Smallwood's sexual contact with some of the children. Comparing the lists recovered during the search of Smallwood's residence to information from Smallwood's previous employers, law enforcement has identified 75 of the names listed as real children who would have been known to Smallwood, including a child Smallwood worked with during his high school child development class. Law enforcement also recovered several hundred pages of graphic stories written by Smallwood describing the sexual exploitation, rape and torture of children, including physically and mentally handicapped children.

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 by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com

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 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, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov. Details about Maryland's program are available at http://www.justice.gov/usao/md/Safe-Childhood/index.html.

The investigation was conducted by HSI Baltimore with the assistance of Prince George's County Police Department, Prince George's County State's Attorney's Office and the Prince George's County Board of Education.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacy Dawson Belf, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney LisaMarie Freitas of the U.S. Justice Department's Criminal Division, Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section.