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Child Exploitation
04/05/2011

Music teacher pleads guilty to child pornography charges in New York

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - An instructor who taught private music lessons to children and adults pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to one count of receiving child pornography and one county of possessing child pornography, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Stephen W. Siktberg, 32, was arrested by HSI agents on Oct. 29, 2010, at his home in Beacon, N.Y. He entered his guilty pleas before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lisa Margaret Smith in White Plains.

According to the complaint, indictment and statements made during his plea, Siktberg admitted to downloading child pornography from the Internet using a peer-to-peer file-sharing program. He saved thousands of the illegal images and hundreds of videos on his computer. He admitted during his plea that he knew downloading child pornography was a crime.

"This type of crime is appalling and made even more despicable when it is carried out by someone in a position of trust who has access to innocent children," said James T. Hayes, Jr., special agent in charge of the New York HSI office that carried out this investigation. "Identifying those who engage in this type of illicit activity remains a priority for HSI."

Siktberg faces a minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of 20 years in prison on the more serious charge of receipt of child pornography. He also can be fined up to $250,000 on each charge when he is sentenced.

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.