According to documents filed with the court and statements made in court, from June 2006 to May 2007, Hesketh is alleged to have used Google's "Hello" program to exchange hundreds of images of child pornography with another Hello user and to engage in online "chats" during which he discussed, among other things, the sexual molestation of children. Many of the exchanged images depicted prepubescent and pubescent minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct with adults and other minors.
Hesketh appeared this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Donna F. Martinez in Hartford. He is detained pending a detention hearing in this matter that has been scheduled for Monday, March 31, at 2:00 p.m.
The charge of receipt and distribution of child pornography carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years, a maximum term of 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of possession of child pornography carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000.
U.S. Attorney O'Connor stressed that Hesketh has only been charged with the referenced crimes. The defendant is entitled to have the case presented to a grand jury and, if he is indicted, he is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the Government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.U.S. Attorney O'Connor commended the investigative efforts of ICE agents. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Deborah R. Slater.
This arrests is part of Operation Predator, an ongoing ICE initiative targeting those who prey on and exploit children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers, and foreign national predators whose crimes make them deportable. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 11,000 individuals.
The public is encouraged to report suspected child predators and suspicious activity through the following channels:
- ICE's 24-hour toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE;
- The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.