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Child Exploitation
01/30/2009

Wellington man sentenced to 15 years in prison for possession and production of child porn and sexually enticing minors

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Palm Beach County man was sentenced earlier today to 15 years in prison for possession and production of child pornography and attempting to entice minors to engage in sexual activity following a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigation.

Timothy Beckett, 22, formerly of Wellington, Fla., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kenneth L. Ryskamp and faces a lifetime of supervised release, and must register as a sex offender.

On November 5, 2008, after a three-day trial, a federal jury convicted Beckett of one count of possession of child pornography, 14 counts of production of child pornography, and four counts of attempting to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity.

According to trial evidence, Beckett created a MySpace page in which he pretended to be a 16-17 year-old girl named "Chelsea." Using that nickname, Beckett began chatting with several boys of the same age. Over the course of the chats, Beckett, would send the boys sexually suggestive photographs of a 16-17 year-old female he had previously downloaded from the Internet claiming they were of "Chelsea." Beckett then enticed and persuaded the boys to take pornographic pictures of them and transmit those photographs to him via the Internet. Upon receiving the pornographic pictures of the victims, Beckett would then send the boys an e-mail telling them that he was in fact a male, demanding that they meet him and that they allow him to perform oral sex on them. When the boys refused to comply with his demands, Beckett threatened to send the pornographic pictures of the boys to all of their friends on their respective MySpace friends list.

On one occasion, Beckett was actually able to lure one of the boys into meeting him under the guise of pretending to be "Chelsea's" brother. Beckett was ultimately identified and a state search warrant was executed on his apartment. Beckett's computers were seized during the execution of the search warrant. A computer forensic examination revealed that Beckett was in possession of approximately 66 videos of child pornography. In addition, on Beckett's computer law enforcement recovered the pornographic photographs of his victims and number of chat logs with the boys.

"Today's sentencing sends a strong message that ICE agents will continue to police cyberspace to investigate and bring to justice those who sexually exploit the most vulnerable segment of our society, our children," said Anthony V. Mangione, special agent in charge of ICE's Office of Investigations in Miami. "ICE relentlessly pursues predators who sexually abuse children, whether that abuse is physical or whether it is accomplished by exploiting their images."

United States Attorney R. Alexander Acosta stated, "Our children all too often become the victims of abuse by sexual predators who seek to hide behind the anonymity provided by the Internet. We remain committed to aggressively investigating and prosecuting these types of crimes."

The arrest of Beckett was part of a nationwide initiative known as Operation Predator. Operation Predator protects our children from sexual predators, including those who travel across continents to have sex with minors. Internet child pornographers and criminal alien sex offenders and child traffickers are also a priority for ICE. Since the initiative was launched in July of 2003, there have been more than 11,500 individuals arrested nationwide.

ICE encourages anyone who wants to report suspicious activity of suspected child predators and suspicious activity through our toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. Investigators staff this hotline around the clock.

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.