"Individuals who seek to exploit children for their own selfish interests must be held accountable for their actions," said John P. Torres, special agent in charge of the ICE HSI field office in Washington, D.C. "ICE HSI remains resolute in its determination to successfully identify and arrest individuals like Mr. Hartney whose behavior destroys the dignity of innocent victims and their families."
Hartney was indicted on July 11, 2011, by a federal grand jury on multiple counts involving child pornography, including production, receipt, distribution and possession. Hartney faces a minimum of five years and a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each receipt count when he is sentenced on Jan. 19, 2012.
In a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement and other court documents, an arrest warrant was issued for Hartney after a computer repair person found child pornography on Hartney's computer. A search warrant was executed on Hartney's residence in Newport News and a number of computers and computer media were seized. Hartney was found to have homemade images of what appears to be several different teenage girls engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
This case was investigated by the ICE HSI office in Norfolk, the Newport News Police Department and the Chesapeake Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Yusi is prosecuting the case.
This investigation was 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-2-ICE. 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.