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Child Exploitation

Detroit area man sentenced to 5 years for possession of child pornography

Possessed more than 1,700 images and 37 videos

DETROIT - A 41 year-old suburban Detroit man, who possessed over a thousand images of child pornography, was sentenced to five years in prison on December 18, 2008 as the result of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigation. Thomas Kennard of Clawson, Mich., pleaded guilty to receipt and possession of child pornography.

"Exploitation of any individual for the purpose of entertainment is wrong. But the exploitation of children for these purposes is particularly heinous," said Brian Moskowitz, Special Agent-In-Charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Detroit. "ICE will continue its resolve to hunt and bring to justice purveyors and partakers of child pornography. Today's sentencing is a clear demonstration of that commitment."

The information presented to the court at the time of the plea established that from January 2006 through February 2006, special agents from ICE identified Kennard through "Operation Emissary," an investigative effort focused on identifying and apprehending individuals purchasing subscription access to child pornographic websites. Investigation by special agents from ICE revealed that Kennard used a credit card to purchase access to a members-only child pornographic website where approximately 490 images were viewed and or downloaded.

ICE agents conducted a search of Kennard's home and seized a computer and related computer items which revealed over 1,700 images of child pornography and videos with children ranging from four to 16 years of age.

Berg said, "Federal laws targeting the child pornography trade aim to eliminate the victimization of children everywhere, because those who possess child pornography create the market for images of child sexual abuse. We will prosecute these crimes vigorously."

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney John O'Brien for the Eastern District of Michigan.

This case was brought as part of "Project Safe Childhood." In February 2006, the Department of Justice launched Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorney's Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, and identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.

This case was also investigated under Operation Predator, which is 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. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 11,600 individuals.

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.

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/.