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Child Exploitation

French citizen sentenced to 9 years for transporting child pornography

SAN FRANCISCO – A French national was sentenced Wednesday to 108 months in prison for transporting child pornography, following a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) that revealed he posed online as a 15-year-old boy to entice teens into performing sexually explicit activities on webcams.

Nicolas Perret, 43, of Saint Laurent Du-Pape, France, was indicted by a federal grand jury May 17, 2012. He was charged with four counts of sexual exploitation of children and transportation of child pornography.

Perret pleaded guilty May 7 to transportation of child pornography. According to the plea agreement, Perret admitted possessing recordings of live video chats he had conducted with three minors whom he had convinced to engage in sexually explicit conduct after developing lengthy online relationships.

HSI’s attaché in Ottawa, Canada, was alerted to Perret’s activities by Canadian authorities, who had been investigating Perret in connection with a trip he took to Ontario, Canada, to meet an underage girl with whom he had developed an online relationship.

According to a court document, Perret lured young girls, barely in their teens, into performing sex acts on a video camera. More than 100 videos featuring suspected underage girls on webcams in sexually exploitative situations were recovered on Perret’s laptop. The government’s sentencing memorandum further indicates Perret established contact and engaged in communication with his victims through popular social media and video chat websites. According to the government, Perret also invaded his victims’ bedrooms with texts and phone calls, imploring them to undress and perform sexual acts, all the while hiding behind a fictitious teenager identity he knew they had grown to trust.

"As this case vividly illustrates, the advent of the Internet means youth are now vulnerable to exploitation by sexual predators not just around the corner, but around the globe," said Clark Settles, special agent in charge for HSI San Francisco. "This new reality means that as parents and as law enforcement, we must be mindful of the risks facing children when they go online and use every tool at our disposal to keep them safe."

Perret was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge William H. Alsup. In addition to the prison term, Judge Alsup sentenced the defendant to a five-year period of supervised release and he will be required to register as a sex offender. Additionally, Perret was ordered to pay more than $28,000 to the family of one of his victims to compensate for the cost of psychological treatment incurred as a result of the offense. Perret has been in custody since his arrest in March 2012.

Carolyn Silane is the Special Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Bridget Kilkenny.