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Child Exploitation

2 Baltimore-area men sentenced to 28 and 29 years in prison for sexually abusing a child to produce child pornography

BALTIMORE — In unrelated cases, two Maryland men were each sentenced Thursday to more than 25 years in prison for sexually abusing a minor to produce child pornography.

Larry James Kerfoot, 38, of Dundalk, and Robert Marzola, 31, of Essex, were sentenced respectively to 28 and 29 years in prison, followed by lifetime supervised release, by U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander. Judge Hollander also ordered that upon their release from prison, Kerfoot and Marzola must each register as a sex offender in the place where he resides, where he is an employee and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.

The sentences follow an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the FBI and the Baltimore County Police Department with the assistance of the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office.

According to their plea agreements, both men were identified in 2012 by an undercover Baltimore County detective who downloaded child pornography from Internet files made available by the two men from their homes.

On June 27, 2012, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Kerfoot’s home and seized computers and digital media containing 19 videos and 80 images of child pornography that Kerfoot had received from the Internet. Officers also seized a video Kerfoot had produced of a 12-year-old girl whom he had coerced to engage in sexually explicit conduct with him on at least five occasions.

On July 19, 2012, Baltimore County Police executed a search warrant at Marzola’s residence and seized a camera, computers and digital media. Between December 2011 and July 2012, Marzola sexually abused a minor male at his home to produce images of himself and the minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Marzola saved the images on his laptop. He told the boy, who was 6-years-old when the abuse began, not to tell anyone about their conduct, which Marzola described to the boy as a game. The images and videos that Marzola had previously produced of the boy were found on his laptop, along with 18 additional videos of children engaged in sexual conduct. According to information presented at the Nov. 7 sentencing hearing, during the investigation law enforcement identified a second boy that had been sexually abused by Marzola.

The second victim, who was 5-years-old at the time of the abuse, told investigators that on at least one occasion he had witnessed the sexual abuse of the first victim, and had been abused himself. As with the first victim, Marzola told the second victim not to tell anyone about what happened.

These investigations were 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 1-866-347-2823 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 28-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.

HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the "resources" tab on the left of the page.

The Kerfoot case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Judson T. Mihok and the Marzola case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Budlow.