United States Flag
Official Website of the Department of Homeland Security

Report Crimes: Email or Call 1-866-DHS-2-ICE

Child Exploitation
09/12/2013

Twice convicted child rapist pleads guilty to online distribution of child pornography

WILMINGTON, Del. – A Missouri man pleaded guilty Thursday to distributing child pornography. The guilty plea resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Sean Lawrence, 40, of Kansas City, Mo., was previously convicted in Missouri in 1995 and 2005 of sodomizing two young boys. He was sentenced to five years in prison for each offense and was required to register as a sex offender upon his release. Because of his prior convictions for child sex offenses, Lawrence faces enhanced sentencing penalties under federal law, including a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison. Lawrence also faces five years to a lifetime of supervised release following his prison sentence.

Lawrence will be sentenced Jan. 6.

According to court documents, in February 2013, Lawrence came to the attention of a Wilmington-based HSI special agent during an online undercover investigation into non-public, peer-to-peer networks being used to distribute child pornography. Lawrence provided the undercover agent, who posed as a man interested in trading images of child pornography, with access to his non-public, peer-to-peer network. The undercover agent then downloaded 11 video files of child pornography from Lawrence’s computer.

During the investigation, special agents determined Lawrence had distributed child pornography from various locations via a wireless mobile device. On Feb. 14, Kansas City-based special agents apprehended Lawrence while he was transmitting and receiving images of child pornography via the Internet from the second floor of the Metropolitan Community College Library in Kansas City.

A subsequent forensic examination of computer equipment seized from Lawrence in the library and at his residence resulted in the discovery of more than 10,000 still images and 200 videos of child pornography. The depictions of child pornography featured mostly prepubescent boys engaged in sexual acts with adult males or other boys. A number of the files depicted violence, sadistic or masochistic abuse or bondage.

During an interview with special agents, Lawrence stated he had traded hundreds of child pornography images and videos via file sharing programs and email each day since 1999, except during his time in prison. He also estimated he traded child pornography files with one to three people a day via email. Lawrence told the special agents he went to the Metropolitan Community College campus three to four days a week to use the wireless Internet to receive and distribute child pornography. He also noted he utilized wireless networks at the public library and fast food establishments to distribute and receive child pornography.

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, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) or its online resource for reporting child sexual exploitation.

HSI is a founding member and the U.S. representative of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.