Robert Diduca, 47, of Milford, Mass., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV.
The guilty plea was announced by the U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, District of Massachusetts; and Bruce M. Foucart, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Boston.
If this case had proceeded to trial, the government's evidence would have proven that Diduca engaged in online chats with an individual being separately prosecuted in Arizona, and persuaded him to sexually abuse and photograph a young child. Investigators determined Diduca provided the camera, and suggested how the child should be posed.
According to court records, Dicuda was also a member of an online forum for those with a sexual interest in children, and sent a pornographic image of a child via email. An investigation of that distributed image led to the identification of the child, and the arrest of a Dutch national in the Netherlands, where he is charged with production, distribution, and possession of child pornography, as well as the sexual assault of 87 minors. Forensic evidence revealed over 27,000 images of child pornography in Diduca's possession.
Judge Saylor scheduled sentencing for Feb. 9, 2012. Diduca faces a minimum five year prison term and a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison, to be followed by a lifetime of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. He has been held in custody since his arrest on June 2, 2011, and will remain in custody pending sentencing.
The investigation by ICE HSI was conducted with assistance from the Worcester County District Attorney's Office, Massachusetts State Police and the Milford Police Department.
Additional international assistance was provided by the Amsterdam Police Department and the National Police Services Agency (KLPD-Ipol) in the Netherlands.
This investigation is part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE 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. ICE HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE 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 and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael I. Yoon.