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Child Exploitation
03/23/2012

Previously convicted New York sex offender charged with possessing child pornography

NEW YORK – A Jefferson Valley man was charged with distributing and possessing child pornography and transferring obscene material to a minor. These charges stem from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with the assistance of the Putnam County Sheriff's Department and the Yorktown Police Department.

Jonathan DeLaura, 37, who is a registered sex offender, is charged with distributing child pornography over the Internet, to include sending obscene material to a 15-year-old boy through an Internet chat site.

"Sex offender laws are meant to protect children from being repeatedly victimized by individuals like Jonathan DeLaura. The production, transmission and possession of images of children are as exploitative as physical abuse itself," said James T. Hayes Jr., special agent in charge of HSI New York. "HSI is strongly committed to seeking out sexual predators who jeopardize the safety and well-being of our youth."

"As alleged, this case underlines the urgent need for law enforcement to continue its efforts to protect children from those who prey on them over the Internet and endanger them," said Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. "As today's charges demonstrate, we will use every tool available to law enforcement to prosecute and punish those who allegedly possess and distribute child pornography."

As per court documents, on October 7, 2009, DeLaura pleaded guilty in Bronx County Court to sexual misconduct. His victim was a 12-year-old boy. He was sentenced December 16, 2009 to six years of probation and registered with the New York State Sex Offender Registry.

From May 5, 2011, through May 10, 2011, DeLaura distributed files containing images and videos of child pornography over the Internet via a Peer-to-Peer networking program.

In November 2011, DeLaura contacted a 15-year-old boy in an Internet chat room using the screen name "sillyrabbit" and claimed to be a 17-year-old girl. After an exchange of messages, DeLaura sent two obscene photographs to the victim. On February 2, 2012, DeLaura was arrested by officers from the Putnam County Sheriff's Department (PCSD). After DeLaura was arrested, PCSD officers executed a search warrant at his residence and recovered an iPod, which contained approximately 162 videos containing images of child pornography and approximately 5 still photos of images containing child pornography. The iPod also contained photographs of DeLaura as well as the two obscene photographs that were sent to the victim.

DeLaura faces a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison for distributing child pornography via the Internet; a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for possessing child pornography; and a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for transferring obscene material to a minor. He also faces an additional minimum sentence of 10 years in prison for transferring obscene material to a minor while he was registered as a sex offender.

This investigation is part of HSI's Operation Predator, a nationwide initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who sexually exploit children and the Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood, which marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children using the Internet.

As part of Operation Predator, HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or via its online tip form. 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.