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Child Exploitation

California man sentenced to 36 years in prison for child predator crimes

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - A California man who traveled to Alaska with the intent of sexually abusing two young children was sentenced Wednesday to 36 years in federal prison and a lifetime of supervised release, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Danny Michael Harvey, 47, of Lancaster, Calif., was convicted in November 2008, following a jury trial for attempted aggravated sexual abuse, attempted manufacture of child pornography, transportation of child pornography and possession of child pornography.

Evidence presented during the trial showed how an undercover ICE agent responded to an on-line post by Harvey in a pedophile-oriented chat room, seeking access to families or young females. After the agent posed as a grandfather with sole custody of his 5-year-old granddaughter and 4-year-old grandson, Harvey conveyed his strong desire to sexually abuse the young girl.

During subsequent on-line chats, Harvey sought assurances that the agent was not a law enforcement officer or part of any group that would report him for being a pedophile. He also wrote that he was willing to travel to meet the girl and make a video of the abuse. Less than a week later, Harvey bought an airline ticket to Alaska, a laptop computer with a video camera, and toys.

In August 2007, Harvey flew to Anchorage, Alaska. He was carrying a camera bag with numerous lenses and peripherals, a laptop computer and an iPod. When he deplaned, he was promptly arrested by ICE agents and Anchorage Police Department officers.

ICE agents who completed a forensic analysis of the electronics discovered his laptop contained 11 video clips of child pornography and songs celebrating the molestation of young kids. Some of these same pornographic clips and other child pornographic images had been previously deleted from his IPod.

"Today's prison sentence should serve as a strong deterrent to anyone who would even consider sexually exploiting a child," said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of ICE's Office of Investigations for Alaska. "ICE is dedicated to investigating those who prey on innocent children and we will continue to work closely with the U.S. attorney's office as well as our state, local and federal law enforcement partners to ensure that these predators are brought to justice."

"We work hand in glove with agencies like ICE, the Alaska State Troopers, the Anchorage Police Department and other law enforcement who coordinate their efforts, as part of our office's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force," said Karen L. Loeffler, U.S. attorney for Alaska. "We vigorously pursue, prosecute and convict individuals like Mr. Harvey, who prey upon society's most precious and vulnerable resources, its children. Given this conviction, Mr. Harvey will remain off the streets for the next 36 years and will then be on lifetime supervised release once he is released in 2045. As a result, he will never again pose a danger to our children."

During the sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline labeled Harvey a "practicing, unrepentant pedophile with a predilection for young girls...who sunk as low as a human being can."

The charges against Harvey are the result of Operation Predator, an ongoing ICE initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who prey on children, and the U.S. Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood (PSC).

Additional information about Operation Predator is available on the Web at www.ice.gov. ICE encourages the reporting of suspected child predators 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 & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or www.cybertipline.com.

PSC was launched to increase federal prosecutions of violent sexual predators of children, and to reduce the number of Internet crimes against children including child pornography trafficking. As a part of PSC, the U. S. attorney's office has teamed with state and local agencies and organizations to increase law enforcement presence on the Internet, and to educate the public about safe Internet use, thereby reducing the risk that children might fall prey to online sexual predators. For additional information on the PSC initiative, please go to www.projectsafechildhood.gov.