WILMINGTON, Del. – A Delaware man pleaded guilty in federal court to production and transportation of child pornography. The guilty plea is the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Leonard Wasylyk, 49, of Wilmington, was arrested in December 2010 following an undercover ICE HSI investigation. ICE HSI was assisted by the New Castle County (Del.) Police Department. Wasylyk has been in federal custody since his arrest.
According to court documents, an undercover ICE HSI agent identified Wasylyk during an online undercover investigation into a private peer-to-peer network being used to trade images of child pornography. After downloading computer files containing child pornography from Wasylyk's home computer, the agents arrested Wasylyk and executed a search warrant at his North Wilmington, Del., residence on Dec. 9, 2010. ICE HSI agents recovered a computer from Wasylyk's bedroom that contained more than 60,000 images of child pornography – the majority of these images depict mostly prepubescent, adolescent and teenage boys engaged in sex acts with other boys or adult males.
Through a forensic analysis of Wasylyk's computer, ICE HSI agents learned that Wasylyk had traded images of child pornography with approximately 150 individuals with whom he had engaged in more than 15,500 instant message chats.
During the forensic review of Wasylyk's computer, agents discovered over 60 images of a young boy engaged in sexually explicit conduct with Wasylyk in the bedroom of his Wilmington residence. Agents subsequently identified the child and located him in southeastern Pennsylvania. The child reported that Wasylyk produced the sexually explicit images when the boy was 12 or 13-years-old. The forensic analysis also revealed that Wasylyk distributed the sexually explicit images of the child that he produced to other child sex offenders while bragging about having molested the boy.
"HSI is committed to protecting our nation's children from dangerous online predators," said John P. Kelleghan, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Philadelphia. "The victimization of young children, who are left with permanent psychological, physical and emotional scars, will not be tolerated."
Wasylyk is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 4, 2012. If convicted, Wasylyk faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison on the production of child pornography charge and 20 years on the transportation of child pornography charge. He also faces a possible lifetime of supervised release following his prison sentence and will be required to register as a sex offender.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE 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. ICE HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE. 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.