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Child Exploitation

Former soldier sentenced to 50 years for videotaped rape of 6-year-old girl

NASHVILLE — A former soldier was sentenced to 50 years in prison Monday after pleading guilty to two state charges that he raped a 6-year-old girl in Montgomery County in 2008. The sentencing follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with assistance from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division.

According to court documents, Joshua Matthew Cline, 28, received an automatic 25-year sentence without parole on each charge Monday after pleading guilty in April to two counts of child rape. Cline was previously sentenced to more than 27 years in federal prison for production of child pornography in August 2011.

"The forcible rape of an innocent child is one of the most heinous crimes we encounter," said HSI New Orleans Special Agent in Charge Raymond R. Parmer, Jr. "This case reflects a strong partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement to promptly identify a sexual predator and seek prosecution to the fullest extent of the law to keep other children safe." Parmer oversees a five state area-of-operations to include Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Cline was arrested after HSI special agents identified child pornography linked to his email address in 2008 while Cline was an active-duty Fort Campbell soldier deployed to Iraq. A subsequent federal search warrant resulted in investigators locating video of Cline raping the child on a laptop computer in Cline's Iraq living quarters.

Cline's federal and state prison sentences will run concurrently. At the end of his federal prison term Cline will be transferred into state custody to serve out the remainder of his sentence. Cline is also required to register as a violent sex offender and he will be subject to supervised release for life if ever released from prison.

This investigation was 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.

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, 1-800-843-5678.

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.