United States Flag
Official Website of the Department of Homeland Security

Report Crimes: Email or Call 1-866-DHS-2-ICE

Child Exploitation
12/06/2013

NM prior sex offender sentenced to 15 years for receiving child pornography

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A New Mexico man, who had been convicted of child rape in Massachusetts in the 1980s, was sentenced Thursday to 15 years in prison and to a lifetime of supervised release for receiving child pornography.

This case was investigated by U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

John W. Vandermeer, 63, will also be required to register as a sex offender after he completes his prison sentence.

Vandermeer was arrested in December 2012 on a criminal complaint alleging he received and possessed child pornography in Bernalillo County, N.M., between January 2011 and November 2012. He subsequently was indicted and charged with three counts of receiving child pornography, and two counts of possessing child pornography. The indictment alleged that Vandermeer received child pornography from January 2009 through April 16, 2011, and that he possessed child pornography in December 2012 in Bernalillo County.

On July 30, 2013, Vandermeer pleaded guilty to one count of receiving child pornography. In his plea agreement, Vandermeer acknowledged that HSI special agents and New Mexico state police officers executed a search warrant at his residence Dec. 4, 2012. They seized computers and computer-related media.

The search warrant was issued based on an undercover investigation by New Mexico state police officers, which began in November 2012. It revealed that an Internet Protocol address subscribed to Vandermeer was being used to download child pornography through a peer-to-peer file-sharing program.

During his plea hearing, Vandermeer also acknowledged voluntarily participating in a recorded interview Dec. 4, 2012 during which he admitted downloading child pornography images and videos of prepubescent children. He also admitted having a prior conviction for raping a child younger than 14. He said he moved from Massachusetts to Albuquerque in 1987 after he was convicted of child rape. Vandermeer also stated he participated in Albuquerque theater productions involving children.

Vandermeer received an enhanced prison sentence of 15 years in prison because of his prior sex offense conviction. As required by plea agreement, Vandermeer was ordered to forfeit his computers and computer-related media.

This investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including producing and distributing online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line 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 & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.

For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page.

HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.