Bianchi was convicted in August 2007 of traveling to Moldova and Romania, where he raped two boys, sexually assaulted three other boys and attempted to molest two others. The jury also convicted Bianchi of using international telephone calls to groom two more boys for sex. Bianchi was charged under a 2003 federal law that makes it illegal for Americans to commit sexual crimes against children in foreign countries. Ten victims came from abroad to Philadelphia to testify.
"Today' sentencing sends a clear message that if you travel abroad with the intention of having sex with children, you will be held accountable for your actions in the United States," said ICE Special Agent-in-Charge John Kelleghan. "ICE is committed to ensuring that individuals who commit these crimes never have the opportunity to harm another child."
"Sex tourists are a special breed of predatory pedophile," said Michael L. Levy, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. "They have the means to travel to foreign places where they think the law cannot reach them and where no one will care about their crimes. The only way to stop the Mark Bianchis of the world is with serious sentences that illustrate the government's commitment to protect children around the globe from these destructive acts."
In addition to the prison term, Bianchi was ordered to pay a fine of $50,000, restitution in the amount of $47,951.20, and a $1,000 special assessment. Upon his release from prison, Bianchi will spend the remainder of his life on supervised release.
ICE received assistance on the investigation from the following: U.S. Embassy Moldova, U.S. Embassy Romania, Diplomatic Security Services, Center for Combating Trafficking Against Women & Children (Moldova), Romanian Organized Crime Police, Cape May County Prosecutor's Office, and North Wildwood Police Department.
ICE, which has attaché offices in 42 countries, has authorities that allow its agents to pursue transnational crimes and safeguard children around the world. ICE targets child pornographers and their customers, those who travel to have sex with minors and those who facilitate such crimes, human smugglers and traffickers of minors and criminal aliens in the United States who have been convicted of offenses against minors.
To address this criminal activity and protect children worldwide, ICE developed Operation Predator, which identifies, investigates and arrests child predators and sexual offenders. Since its inception in 2003,
ICE and its law enforcement partners across the United States and around the world have identified, arrested and brought to justice more than 11,000 child predators.
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.