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Child Exploitation
09/11/2012

St. Augustine sex offender charged with international transportation of child pornography

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A St. Augustine, Fla., man was charged by federal criminal complaint Tuesday with transporting child pornography from Florida to Canada. This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the FBI, the Canadian Border Services Agency, Ottawa Police Services and the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.

According to the criminal complaint, Charles Lee Gorish, 66, of St. Augustine sent a package, via Federal Express, to an individual in Ontario, Canada. The package contained, among other things, two micro Secure Digital (SD) media cards with numerous images of child pornography. It was intercepted by Canadian law enforcement officers. Canadian officials notified HSI, the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office and the FBI that they had seized this package.

Further investigation revealed that Gorish was a registered sex offender. According to Hillsborough County, Fla., court records, he was convicted in February 1992 for lewd and lascivious conduct on a child less than 16 years of age.

On Sept. 7, FBI agents and St. Johns County Sheriff's Office personnel executed a federal search warrant at Gorish's residence in St. Augustine. During an interview, Gorish admitted, among other things, that he acquired the files on the SD cards, depicting sexually explicit images of boys, from the Internet over a period of years. He was subsequently arrested.

If convicted, Gorish faces between 15 and 40 years in federal prison.

A criminal complaint is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.

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.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.