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Child Exploitation

West Virginia man pleads guilty to possessing child pornography

CHARLESTON, W. Va. - A Boone County, W. Va., man pleaded guilty Thursday to possession of child pornography, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Derek S. Holley, 34, of Julian, W. Va., admitted in his plea agreement that in November 2008, he possessed numerous images of child pornography on three computer hard drives located in his parents' home. While possessing the images, he admitted that he knew the illegal images of young children constituted child pornography.

"This case illustrates the serious transgression that is being committed when individuals collect illegal images of young children who are being sexually exploited," said John P. Kelleghan, special agent in charge of ICE HSI that oversees West Virginia. "Crimes committed against children in this manner are some of the most personally challenging cases investigated by HSI agents, but we will continue to dedicate our resources to track down child predators wherever they are and bring them to justice."

Holley faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced on August 18. This case is being prosecuted in the Southern District of West Virginia by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Frail.

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-2ICE. 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.