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Child Exploitation

East Coast man who blamed hackers for his child pornography collection sentenced

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A 59-year-old Connecticut computer technician could spend the rest of his life in prison after being sentenced Friday to 26 years' incarceration for one count of advertising child pornography and two counts of distribution of child pornography.

Michael J. Carroll, of Milford, Connecticut, who was convicted in February by a federal jury, blamed a Target-style attack, referring to the recent data harvest by hackers on the national retailer, as the reason investigators found child pornography on his computers and in his email account. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) learned of Carroll in 2011 when an undercover HSI special agent in Alaska infiltrated the child pornography email distribution group he belonged to.

According to evidence presented at trial, Carroll distributed nearly 100 sexually explicit images on two occasions to approximately 50 members in the international email group, including the HSI special agent posing as a child pornography collector. The illicit images Carroll distributed involved elementary school-aged children, toddlers and infants.

Carroll testified he was a highly skilled computer technician with a very sophisticated network. Despite that, he claimed hackers were able to cause his email to send messages reflecting the Internet Protocol address assigned to his home. He also said hackers were able to populate his computer system with sexually explicit images of children organized in a plethora of conspicuously named folders. Carroll equated his unfortunate experience to that of national retailers that have been hacked.

In handing down the sentence, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Ralph R. Beistline noted Carroll showed no remorse for his crimes calling him a sociopathic pedophile, a pathological liar and a narcissist with a lifelong history of abusing vulnerable victims. In addition to the 100 images he emailed, Carroll's multiple computers contained about 2,000 images and 340 videos of child pornography. A dozen child victims were identified in those images, and 11 victims submitted letters describing the serious harms they had suffered as the result of being sexually exploited.

HSI Anchorage and HSI New Haven, Conn., investigated this case with the Alaska Bureau of Investigation and the Anchorage Police Department. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Alaska 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.