Marcus Wilson was arrested and charged in a criminal complaint with production, transportation and possession of child pornography. The complaint alleges that Wilson knowingly received and exchanged visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, and knowingly possessed and produced visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
According to the criminal complaint, Wilson exchanged numerous electronic communications, to include video chats, emails and instant messages, with at least one other person located outside of Michigan. One of those individuals, Timothy Whitington of Dallas, Texas, who was arrested by HSI Dallas-based HSI special agents Monday on similar charges, identified Wilson as an individual aiding him in the production of child pornography.
Following up on the Texas lead, Detroit agents arrested Wilson at his home without incident last night. According to the investigation, Wilson and Whitington would pose their respective children in a sexually explicit manner during web-based video chat sessions so the other could observe.
A search of data storage devices confirmed the finding.
"All children have an absolute right to grow up free from the fear of sexual abuse and exploitation, and especially from those they trust" said Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Detroit. "Sadly, today's technology in the hands of a predator with access to children has put our children at greater risk than ever before. Despite the odds, HSI special agents and our support staff will continue to work tirelessly to protect our kids and brings their abusers to justice."
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys Offices, 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 identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Roth is prosecuting the case.
This investigation was also a 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.
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.