NEW ORLEANS - Nicholas Broekman, 29, of Belle Chase, La., pleaded guilty Feb. 2 in federal court before U. S. District Judge Jay C. Zainey to felonies involving the sexual exploitation of children, following a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigation.
According to documents filed in federal court, Broekman knowingly used his computer to search for, download and save images of child pornography.
On June 25, 2009, ICE agents executed a federal search warrant at the defendant's home.
Agents seized computer equipment and approximately 150 images of child pornography that were found hidden under Broekman's bed.
During the search, Broekman admitted to subscribing to child pornography Web sites since 2000.
A subsequent computer forensic search of his computers revealed that he was in possession of approximately 1,500 images depicting the sexual victimization of children.
Broekman faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years imprisonment and a maximum sentence of 20 years.
He will be placed on supervised release for a period of not less than five years and up to life and will be required to register as a sex offender.
Sentencing is scheduled for May 11.
The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U. S. Attorney Brian M. Klebba.
This case was part of Operation Predator, which is 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 almost 12,000 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.