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Child Exploitation

Connecticut man sentenced to more than 15 years in federal prison for trading child pornography

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — A man formerly from Hartford and Torrington, Conn., was sentenced to 188 months in federal prison, to be followed by a lifetime of supervised release, for receiving and distributing child pornography. The sentence is the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Connecticut State Police.

Thomas E. Stickle, 41, was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Warren W. Eginton. According to court documents and statements made in court, from December 2009 to May 2010, Stickle traded images of child pornography with other individuals by email. A forensic examination of Stickle's computer and email account revealed 478 images and six videos of child pornography. Most of the images were of children under the age of 12 engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

On May 10, 2012, Stickle pleaded guilty to one count of receipt and distribution of child pornography.

The penalties in this matter were enhanced based on Stickle's prior state conviction. On Aug. 8, 2003, in Connecticut Superior Court in Litchfield, Conn., Stickle was convicted of possession of child pornography, sexual assault of a minor and illegal sexual contact with a minor.

Stickle has been detained in state custody since May 21, 2010, when he was arrested for violating the terms of his probation in connection with his prior state conviction.

This case is part of HSI's Operation Predator, a nationwide initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who sexually exploit children. As part of Operation Predator, HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or 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 & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Neeraj Patel, District of Connecticut, prosecuted this case on behalf of the U.S. government.