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Child Exploitation

Connecticut man pleads guilty to federal child pornography distribution charge

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — A Connecticut man pleaded guilty Thursday to distributing child pornography. The charge carries up to 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. This investigation is being conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Dale Pearce, 53, of Cheshire, Conn., distributed child pornography by email March 8, 2009. Additionally, he distributed child pornography during an online chat Aug. 7, 2009.

HSI special agents conducted a search of Pearce's residence Dec. 15, 2009, and seized a computer and other computer storage media. Analysis of the seized items revealed that Pearce possessed evidence of the email he sent, as well as images of minors – including children under the age of 12 – engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

HSI's ongoing efforts to target suspects involved in child exploitation offenses are 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-DHS-2-ICE 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 and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anastasia E. King, District of Connecticut.