NEW YORK — A former employee of a child care and after-school program in the Bronx pleaded guilty to producing and causing the production of numerous pornographic images of a child victim. The guilty plea is a result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the New York City Police Department (NYPD).
Joshua Conde, 27, of the Bronx, pleaded guilty to one count of sexual exploitation of a minor. At sentencing, which is set for Aug. 13, he faces of to 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He will also be subject to a restitution order to be imposed at sentencing.
According to court documents, Conde was initially arrested in May 2012 after a joint HSI and NYPD investigation determined that he had possessed child pornography that had been downloaded from the Internet and saved onto his computer.
The investigation also determined that he had distributed child pornography over the Internet using file-sharing software. During a search of his residence conducted at the time of his arrest, a computer and several additional electronic devices containing images and videos of minor children engaging in sexually explicit conduct were seized.
Conde was charged with three counts of transporting or distributing child pornography, and one count of possessing child pornography. He was released on bail over the government's objection.
In August 2012, the government again sought to have Conde detained on the basis of new information developed during the course of the investigation. Law enforcement officers recovered pornographic images of a young girl from the computer and related devices seized from Conde at the time of his arrest that appeared to have been taken in his bedroom. Based on that newly-developed information, U.S. District Judge Kathleen Forrest ordered Conde remanded, finding, after a review of some of the photographs in question, that the "defendant somehow managed to lure children into his bedroom" where he took the newly discovered pictures which were "without a doubt pornographic."
Conde was subsequently charged with one count of sexual exploitation of a minor for his role in using, persuading, inducing, and enticing a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of that conduct. In addition to his role in producing these images, Conde has since admitted, as a condition of his plea agreement with the government, to sexually abusing the victim in question.
HSI New York Special Agent in Charge James T. Hayes Jr., thanked the special agents who worked on this case and the cooperation of the NYPD.
This investigation is part of Operation Predator, a nationwide 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. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.
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.