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Child Exploitation
09/09/2014

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Convicted sex offender sentenced for receipt of child pornography in Georgia

ATLANTA — A registered sex offender was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years in prison for receipt of child pornography following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Charles Pelts, 35, of Marietta, was also sentenced to a lifetime supervised release. Pelts will also be required to register federally as a sex offender when he is released from prison. He pleaded guilty May 14.

“By trafficking in graphic images of pornography depicting very young children, Pelts contributed to the horrifying child exploitation trade,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “We remain steadfast in partnering with federal and local law enforcement officers to vigorously prosecute those engaged in the market for child pornography.”

“The defendant’s egregious disregard for the law and his perverse desire to witness the rape of children simply has no place in our society,” said Ryan L. Spradlin, acting special agent in charge of HSI Atlanta. “The victims whose abuse is so starkly recorded in collections like this know exactly what sort of sick pleasure the defendant derived from seeing the worst moments of their lives. It’s enough to make anyone’s skin crawl.”

According to information presented in court: In or about November 2013, HSI special agents discovered that Pelts had used two email accounts to transfer images of child pornography to others – including images depicting graphic sex acts involving very young children. HSI special agents subsequently obtained warrants to search Pelts’ email accounts and his cell phone. A review of his email accounts revealed that Pelts had received approximately 11,000 images of child pornography, including images of toddlers and infants. His cell phone contained approximately 4,050 images of child pornography. The agents also learned that Pelts had been registered as a sex offender since 2004.

Assistant United States Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan prosecuted the case.

This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line 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 & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.

For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI's Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page.

HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/11/2015