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Child Exploitation
10/28/2008

New Jersey man pleads guilty on international child sex tourism, pornography

ICE located and arrested predator after global appeal from INTERPOL

WASHINGTON - A Union City, N.J., man pleaded guilty today in Newark to a five-count information charging him with three counts of traveling in foreign commerce with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, and one count each of producing and possessing child pornography.

During the plea hearing, Wayne Nelson Corliss, 59, admitted that he traveled to Thailand each year from 2000 to 2002. In each instance, Corliss admitted he traveled with the intent to sexually abuse children, paid for access to children, brought items to facilitate their sexual abuse and sexually abused children. Corliss also admitted to sexually abusing children in 2002 in Thailand for the purpose of photographing and videotaping the activity. In addition, Corliss admitted to storing and possessing images of child pornography on his home computers at the time of his arrest in 2008.

Corliss was identified in May 2008 after INTERPOL released a photo to media outlets around the world and made a global appeal for information that could identify the offender depicted in the photo. The image of the offender had been cropped from photos depicting him sexually abusing young children in Southeast Asia. Within 48 hours, and acting on information obtained from individuals who recognized the offender as Corliss, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, coordinating with INTERPOL, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey, and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) located and arrested Corliss.

"For too long, Wayne Corliss believed that he could prey on the world's most vulnerable children with impunity; he was wrong," said Julie L. Myers, Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for ICE. "This case demonstrates the collective force that can be brought to bear by international law enforcement, the public and prosecutors in stopping the abuse of children. Today's guilty plea makes certain that Corliss will be punished appropriately and ensures that his many victims receive the justice they deserve."

"Never before in history has a criminal case spanning three continents been investigated and solved so quickly and efficiently, " said INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble. "We should take comfort in the willingness and ability of people worldwide to help protect our children from sexual abuse and to bring the perpetrators to justice."

Corliss has been in custody since his arrest, and will remain in custody pending his sentencing on Feb. 9, 2009. At sentencing, Corliss will face a mandatory minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 75 years in prison. Corliss also faces the possibility of lifetime supervised release following his prison term and a $250,000 fine.

The May release of Corliss' photo represented the second time that INTERPOL has made such a public appeal to identify a suspected child predator. INTERPOL and ICE are partners in the Virtual Global Task Force, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies committed to joint, international enforcement efforts designed to keep children safe from sexual predators around the world.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee D. Vartan of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey and CEOS Trial Attorney Michael Yoon.