MILFORD, Del. - Two Delaware men pled guilty today to child exploitation charges in separate cases following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Eric Wayne Tindall, 51, of Milford, pled guilty to attempted receipt of child pornography, in violation of federal law. Prior to his June 24, 2010 arrest, Tindall owned and operated W.E.T. Painting, a home painting business, in Milford. Tindall, who will be sentenced on March 23, 2011, faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in prison and a maximum sentence of twenty years in prison. Tindall also faces a term of supervised release following his prison sentence of five years to life, and will be required to register as a sex offender in any jurisdiction in which he lives, works, or attends school.
According to court records, Tindall came to the attention of ICE HSI and the United States Postal Inspection Service in the summer of 2010, during an investigation of a commercial child pornography website. Tindall later responded to a fake advertisement created by law enforcement agents, which offered to sell child pornography movies. Tindall attempted to order six child pornography movies, and asked if he could special order child pornography movies featuring "3-4 year olds" and movies with "young black girls." Tindall was arrested at his home on June 24, 2010, after he accepted delivery of a package that he believed contained the videos he had ordered. Tindall has been detained since his arrest.
In a second case, Joseph Starkey, 31, of Newark, Del., pled guilty to transfer of obscene material to a minor, in violation of federal law. Starkey, who will be sentenced on March 24, 2011, faces a maximum sentence of ten years in prison and three years of supervised release. He also will be required to register as a sex offender in any jurisdiction in which he lives, works, or attends school.
In April 2010, Starkey came to the attention of Pennsylvania Attorney General's Child Predator Unit, who was posing online as a 13-year-old girl. Using the screen name "oneluckyguy79," Starkey engaged the fictitious minor in a number of video chats during which Starkey repeatedly masturbated via a web camera. During the chats, Starkey attempted to persuade the fictitious minor to send him nude pictures. Starkey also offered to purchase a web camera for the fictitious minor and offered tips on how to hide a web camera from her parents. Starkey has been detained since his Aug. 19, 2010 arrest.
"While we cannot give back the innocence to those who were abused and exploited, we can make sure that justice is served," said John Kelleghan, special agent in charge of ICE HIS in Philadelphia. "HSI and its law enforcement partners stand vigilant to protect the most vulnerable among us, our children."
These cases were investigated by ICE HSI, the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Pennsylvania Child Predator Unit.
This investigation is 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.