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Child Exploitation

Former Pine Crest School coach pleads guilty to transportation of child pornography

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A 35-year-old former assistant swim coach at the Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, pleaded guilty yesterday to transporting child pornography following a joint law enforcement investigation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Roberto M. Caragol, of Plantation, Fla., entered his plea yesterday before United States District Judge Kenneth Marra in West Palm Beach.

According to the criminal complaint filed with the United States District Court, the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC), a group of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies aimed at combating child exploitation, received a Cybertip from America Online that Caragol was distributing child pornography on the Internet. Thereafter, deputies from the Broward Sheriff's Office and ICE agents interviewed Caragol and recovered a computer from his residence. A subsequent forensic examination of the computer revealed approximately 40 thumbnail images of young boys under the age of 18, engaged in sexual activity.

According to the factual proffer filed in court yesterday, Caragol admitted to transporting child pornography and engaging in sexual activity with five underage boys and to having a sexual relationship with an underage female he met at a swimming related event. A criminal investigation of these matters is ongoing.

U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the Broward Sheriff's Office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brent Tantillo.

 If you have more information the criminal activity described in this press release or concerns please contact the Broward County Sheriff's Office Sex Crimes Division at (954) 321-4240.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.