HAMMOND, Ind. - A convicted sex offender was sentenced to 35 years in federal prison and a lifetime of supervised release for advertising child pornography. This significant sentenced resulted from an investigation conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Nathaniel Josiah Worden, 30, of Valparaiso, Ind., was sentenced July 30 in the Northern District of Indiana to 420 months in prison and a lifetime of supervised release. He pleaded guilty in February to a charge of advertising child pornography. Worden was a convicted sex offender at the time he committed the offense.
In March 2009, Worden contacted a person via the Internet that he believed to be a 14-year-old girl named Emily. Emily was in fact a law enforcement officer in Vermont. Worden sent Emily child pornography and camera equipment so that she could take pictures of herself.
Worden was previously convicted in October 2002 of sexual misconduct with a minor. He was sentenced to 10 years in the Indiana Department of Corrections (two years suspended) and was released in October 2006.
"Predators who try to sexually exploit children can't hide their brazen acts behind the anonymity of cyberspace," said Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of the ICE HSI office in Chicago. "Removing these predators from our streets helps protect the most vulnerable and innocent members of society - our children."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jill Trumbull-Harris, Northern District of Indiana, prosecuted the case.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE 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. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 12,800 individuals.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is 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.