Charles G. Franks, 35, of West Milton, Ohio, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Walter H. Rice to 120 months in prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release. He must also register as a sexual offender for the rest of his life anywhere he resides in the United States. Franks was previously convicted in Wood County, Ohio, in 1998 for sexual contact with a child under the age of 13; therefore, the federal conviction triggered a mandatory 10-year sentence. His sentence also prohibits him from having any unsupervised contact with minors.
ICE agents arrested Franks in October 2006 as part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to protect children from sexual predators. The ICE forensic investigation discovered Franks possessed about 2,850 still images and 87 videos of minors engaging in sexually explicit behavior. The visual depictions were of minors engaging in sexual conduct with adults and other minors, along with images of prepubescent children and images of sadistic and masochistic conduct or other depictions of violence. Franks pleaded guilty June 5 to one count of possessing child pornography. Franks bought the images over the Internet.
"This case reveals the disturbing truth that some adults will go to great lengths to sexually exploit children," said Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent-in-charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Detroit, which covers Ohio and Michigan. "While we cannot restore innocence to those who were abused and exploited, we can make sure that justice is served on behalf of the victims."
"The heinous crime of child pornography requires a punishment that deters both the individual convicted of the crime and any others in the community who may be engaging in this type of offensive behavior," Lockhart said.
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. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 11,500 individuals, including more than 110 in Ohio.
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.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Clemmens, Southern District of Ohio, prosecuted this case.