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Child Exploitation

Wisconsin man charged with sexually exploiting a girl in Belize

MILWAUKEE - A grand jury in the Eastern District of Wisconsin returned a one-count indictment Tuesday against a U.S. citizen for traveling in foreign commerce and engaging in and attempting to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor. The indictment was announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney James L. Santelle of the Eastern District of Wisconsin; John Morton, Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); and Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Eric J. Boswell.

According to court documents, Roland J. Flath, 71, of Lamartine, Wis., allegedly traveled to Belize in July 2006 and sexually molested a local girl.

Flath was originally charged by a criminal complaint filed in the Eastern District of Wisconsin in October 2010. He was arrested by the Guatemalan National Civil Police on Feb. 20, 2011, expelled to the United States, where he was arrested by ICE agents and the U.S. Marshals Service.

If convicted, Flath faces a maximum penalty of up to 30 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Charges against Flath for aggravated assault of a minor are also pending in Belize.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Penelope Coblentz, Eastern District of Wisconsin, and Trial Attorney Mi Yung Park of CEOS. This arrest is a result of investigative efforts led by ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Milwaukee and the following agencies: the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security's Regional Security Office in Belize; the Bureau of Diplomatic Security's Regional Security Office in Guatemala; ICE HSI's Attaché Office in Guatemala; the U.S. Marshals Service; and the Belize Police Department.

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.

An indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Flath is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.