Robert A. Diduca, 46, of 23 Hancock St., pled not guilty today to two counts of possession of child pornography and one count of dissemination of child pornography in Milford District Court. Judge Janet McGuiggan set bail at $5,000 and continued his case to Jan. 7, 2011.
ICE HSI had contacted the Worcester District Attorney's with a potential child pornography case. One of the origins of the investigation was an image of a boy, under the age five, whose diaper had been opened to expose his genitalia. The investigation, which included work by the Milford Police Department, led to Mr. Diduca.
"The cooperation in the investigation is tremendous," said Early. "This is a particularly disgusting crime and any time we can put a dent in the dissemination of child pornography, it's a good day for law enforcement."
Early forensic searches of Mr. Diduca's computer storage devices turned up about 10,000 images of young children. There also are videos of young children engaged in sexual acts.
"Every time an image of child pornography is viewed, an innocent child is exploited," said Matthew J. Etre, deputy special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Boston. "This arrest in Milford should serve as a warning to other would-be child predators. Identifying and investigating those who victimize children is one of the most important responsibilities we have, and that is why ICE HSI will continue working aggressively with our federal, state and local partners on these types of cases."
The investigation is continuing.
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.
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.