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Child Exploitation
01/06/2011

Rhode Island man sentenced for online trading of child pornography

Defendants ordered to pay a total of $40,000 in restitution to victim of child pornography video

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Robert M. Lopes, 43, of Coventry, R.I., who pleaded guilty in June 2010 to receipt and distribution of child pornography, was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Providence to 60 months in federal prison, lifetime supervised release with strict guidelines, and was ordered to pay $20,000 in restitution to a victim who appeared in the "Vicky" series of child pornography videos.

The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Rhode Island State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (RI ICAC).

In November, Jon H. Roberts, 47, of Glocester, R.I., and John G. Hathaway, 34, of Warwick, R.I., were sentenced to 60 months in prison, followed by lifetime supervised release with strict guidelines. In addition, Roberts was ordered to pay $15,000 in restitution to the victim in the "Vicky" child pornography series and a $5,000 fine. Hathaway was ordered to pay $4,000 in restitution to the victim who appeared in the child pornography series.

Lopes' sentence, which was imposed by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mary M. Lisi, was announced by U.S. Attorney for the District of Rhode Island Peter F. Neronha; Colonel Brendan P. Doherty, superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police; and Bruce M. Foucart, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Boston. Foucart oversees ICE HSI throughout New England.

Lopes, Hathaway and Roberts were arrested in May 2009 for online trading of child pornography as the result of an undercover operation initiated by the RI ICAC and ICE HSI. Also participating in the investigation were the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the Rhode Island Department of the Attorney General.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Rogers prosecuted the cases in U.S. District Court. Nine defendants arrested during the RI ICAC sweep are being prosecuted in the state courts by the Rhode Island Attorney General's office.

The Rhode Island State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force is a Department of Justice grant-funded program administered by the Rhode Island State Police Computer Crimes Unit, comprised of five State Police Detectives, a Detective from the Providence Police Department, West Warwick Police Department, Coventry Police Department and an agent from ICE HSI. The objective of the RI ICAC is to form strong working relationships between local, state and federal law enforcement in order to effectively and efficiently prevent, detect, investigate, and prosecute online child exploitation and child pornography crimes.

This investigation was also 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.

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.