PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Two men who were arrested in May 2009 for on-line trading of child pornography as the result of an undercover operation initiated by the Rhode Island State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (RI ICAC) and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) have been sentenced to 60 months in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution to the victim of a series of child pornography videos.
Jon H. Roberts, 47, of Glocester, R.I., was sentenced today to 60 months in prison, to be followed by lifetime supervised release with strict guidelines. He was also ordered to pay $15,000 in restitution to the victim in the "Vicky" child pornography series and a $5,000 fine.
John G. Hathaway, 34, of Warwick, R.I., was sentenced last Monday to 60 months in federal prison followed by lifetime supervised release with strict guidelines. He was ordered to pay $4,000 in restitution to the victim in the "Vicky" child pornography series.
The sentences, which were imposed by U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith, were announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha, Rhode Island State Police Superintendent Colonel Brendan P. Doherty and Special Agent in Charge of ICE HSI in Boston Bruce M. Foucart. Foucart oversees ICE HSI throughout New England.
"The sentencing of these two child predators should serve as a stern warning to other would-be child predators," said ICE HSI Special Agent in Charge Foucart. "Since 2007, ICE HSI has been proud to partner with the Rhode Island ICAC Task Force. Identifying and investigating those who victimize our children is one of the most important responsibilities we have, and that is why ICE HSI will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners at the ICAC to identify child predators and bring them to justice."
U.S. Attorney Neronha commented, "As I have said in the past, there is no more important objective in law enforcement than the protection of this nation's children. Every time a person trades in child pornography, he or she re-victimizes a child. I am therefore particularly gratified that these two individuals have been ordered to pay restitution to the child portrayed in the pornography they traded."
Colonel Doherty added, "This is another example of good work and collaboration among state, local and federal partners in combating this disturbing crime."
At the time of Robert's guilty plea in June 2010, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Rogers told the court that Roberts had begun downloading child pornography approximately ten years ago. Within the past five or six years, Roberts began using a peer-to-peer file sharing program known as Limewire to download files and images of children under the age of twelve engaged in sexually explicit conduct. A forensic examination of the defendant's computer revealed that he had downloaded at least thirty-eight child pornography videos.
At the time of Hathaway's guilty plea in June 2010, Assistant U.S. Attorney Rogers told the court that a forensic examination of Hathaway's computer revealed that he possessed at least 160 videos containing images of children under the age of twelve engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Hathaway also used Limewire to download child pornography files.
A third person, Robert M. Lopes, 43, of Coventry, R.I., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in June to one count each of receipt and distribution of child pornography. He is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 5, 2011.
Nine other defendants arrested in the May 2009 ICAC sweep are facing prosecution in the state courts by the Rhode Island Attorney General's Office.
Also participating in the investigation were ICE HSI, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), and the Rhode Island Department of the Attorney General.
The Rhode Island State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force is a Department of Justice grant-funded program administered by the Rhode Island State Police Computer Crimes Unit, comprised of five State Police Detectives, a Detective from the Providence Police Department, West Warwick Police Department, Coventry Police Department and an agent from Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE). The objective of the RI ICAC is to form strong working relationships between local, state and federal law enforcement in order to effectively and efficiently prevent, detect, investigate, and prosecute online child exploitation and child pornography crimes.
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.