COLUMBUS, Ohio – An Ohio home health care aide was charged Wednesday in a six-count indictment for attempting to sexually exploit a child, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations.
The indictment alleges that Patrick Mahoney arranged online a sexual encounter with an undercover officer whom he thought was a 15-year-old girl. He allegedly intended to photograph the encounter with his cell phone.
The indictment charges Mahoney with one count of attempt to produce child pornography, which is punishable by at least 15 years and up to 30 years in prison. He is also charged with attempted child exploitation, a crime punishable by at least 10 years and up to life in prison, and three counts of receiving and distributing child pornography. Each count is punishable by at least five and up to 20 years in prison. He is also charged with one count of possession of child pornography, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Mahoney was arrested on a criminal complaint Feb. 17 and has been in custody since his arrest. Additionally, special agents, who searched a laptop belonging to Mahoney, found suspected child pornography.
Carter M. Stewart, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of HSI Michigan and Ohio; and Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott, on behalf of the Franklin County Internet Against Crimes Task Force, announced the arrest.
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-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 and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.