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Child Exploitation

Previously convicted sex offender sentenced to over 11 years in prison for possessing child pornography

BALTIMORE – Brian Keith Netzer, 45, of Hagerstown, Md., was sentenced to 135 months in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release for child pornography possession following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Maryland State Police.

U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander sentenced Netzer and ordered that upon his release from prison, Netzer must register as a sex offender in the place where he resides, where he is an employee and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.

According to the plea agreement, in June 2005, Netzer was convicted in state court of a sex offense involving a 13-year-old victim. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison, with all but four years suspended. While on parole from that prior conviction, on May 4, 2010, the Maryland State Police learned that child pornography was being transferred using Netzer's email accounts. A search warrant was executed at Netzer's home, and Netzer admitted to downloading child pornography. Subsequent forensic analysis revealed more than 300 images or videos of child pornography on three computers in the defendant's house, including images depicting sadistic and masochistic conduct.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI 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. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin S. Herring.