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Child Exploitation

San Diego man sentenced to 125 months for distributing child pornography

Defendant used Internet chat room to post sexually explicit images of minors

SAN DIEGO - A local man has been sentenced to 10 years and five months in prison for distributing child pornography on the Internet in connection with an investigation led by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

James Dennis Wickline, 54, of San Diego, had been employed as a regional director for an office cleaning company. He was sentenced here Wednesday by U.S. District Court Judge M. James Lorenz. In addition, Judge Lorenz sentenced the defendant to a 12-year period of supervised release following his prison term. Upon release, Wickline will be required to register as a sex offender.

Wickline pleaded guilty in July 2010 to one count of distributing images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Judge Lorenz has also ordered the defendant to pay $9,000 in restitution to three of the minors depicted in some of the sexually explicit images.

"This sentence should serve as a warning to those who seek to victimize and rob young children of their innocence," said Miguel Unzueta, special agent in charge for ICE's Homeland Security Investigations in San Diego. "ICE HSI will work with its law enforcement partners to aggressively pursue child predators to ensure they are held accountable for their despicable behavior."

According to the court records, Wickline admitted that he knowingly distributed visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct between March 20, 2009, and May 20, 2009, and that he began looking at child pornography in pictures involving nude children in sexual situations about 10 years ago.

The San Diego Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force assisted in this investigation.

This investigation is part of ICE'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 via the Internet.

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

Through Project Safe Childhood, the Department of Justice is seeking to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.