PITTSBURGH - A California man was sentenced Monday to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute and receive child pornography. The case was investigated U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the High Technology Investigative Unit of the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS).
Before sentencing, Paul Schwartz, 49, of Lathrop, Calif., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and receive child pornography in U.S. District Court. According to court documents and proceedings, Schwartz and others distributed images and videos of children being sexually abused to other members of an international group that had restricted membership and was formed on a social-networking website. Members of the group distributed to one another thousands of sexually explicit images and videos of children, many of which graphically depicted prepubescent boys and infants being sexually abused and sometimes sodomized or subjected to bondage.
"Today's sentencing again demonstrates HSI's zero-tolerance for anyone who sexually and physical abuses children, and distributes child pornography," said John P. Kelleghan, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Philadelphia. "HSI uses all its resources to bring these predators to justice."
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.