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Child Exploitation

Albany man receives 20-year sentence for child pornography

Former public official had previous convictions for child exploitation

ALBANY, N.Y. - A U.S. District court judge sentenced 56-year-old Grant E. Zanker of Albany to serve 20 years in a federal prison for possession of child pornography, his second federal pornography conviction since 2001. During an investigation in March 2008, special agents for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) found that Zanker traded child pornography with another person using an online service. Zanker entered a guilty plea in July 2008 to possession of child pornography.

"This is a significant sentence for a man who has shown a total disregard for federal and state laws intended to protect children from sexual exploitation," said Patrick Coultry, resident agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Albany.

The sentencing was announced by Andrew T. Baxter, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York and Coultry. In addition to the 20-year sentence, Zanker was ordered to serve a lifetime of supervised release, have no unsupervised contact with minors, participate in a sex offender program, and register as a sex offender with the State of New York.

During the investigation, ICE agents seized a computer and computer disks, including one labeled, "Very Nice Clips for my Special Friends Disk." Forensic examination uncovered thousands of images (still and movie files) depicting minors between the ages of 3 and16 years engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Zanker has an extensive criminal history, including a 2001 federal conviction for possessing child pornography; a 2000 conviction in New York for attempting to disseminate indecent material to a minor; and a 1990 state conviction for acting in a manner injurious to a child.

Zanker had been employed by the Bronx Defender's Office, as the Commissioner of Social Services for Otsego County and the Deputy Commissioner of Social Services for Schoharie County. The case was investigated by ICE, Albany, and the Albany Police Department.