BOSTON — A Shrewsbury, Mass., man pleaded guilty April 4 in U.S. District Court in Worcester, Mass., to traveling to the Dominican Republic with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct. The guilty plea is the result of an extensive investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Conrad Gallant, 61, previously of Winchendon, Mass., and most recently of Shrewsbury, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman to engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places and travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct. Under the terms of the plea agreement, the court must sentence Gallant to between 60 and 168 months in prison, 10 years of supervised release, restitution and forfeiture. Sentencing is scheduled for June 26, 2013.
According to the agreed upon statement of facts, Gallant traveled to the Dominican Republic in February 2011 and had sexual relations in his apartment with a 14-year-old girl he knew was underage. Gallant returned to the Dominican Republic four times over the course of a year to engage in illicit sexual relations with the underage victim, giving her money, a laptop computer and jewelry during that time. Additionally, on these trips, Gallant took photographs of the victim while she was nude and while engaging in sexual acts, and took those images back to the United States.
In February 2012, the National Tourist Police of the Dominican Republic learned that Gallant had engaged in sexual relations with the then 15-year-old victim. The victim was forensically interviewed by a medical professional and she confirmed that Gallant engaged in sex with her. She provided agents with a cell phone containing images of Gallant naked, including an image of Gallant and the victim engaged in sexual activity. The victim disclosed that Gallant had promised her certain items and money to take her mother to the doctor, but never gave them to her. Additionally, the victim stated that Gallant forced her to have sex with him a couple times when she was unwilling. The victim also informed investigators that Gallant asked her to bring him other minor girls to have sex with and this happened on two occasions. Gallant paid both of these minors $100.
In March 2012, a federal search warrant was executed at Gallant's Shrewsbury address. During the search, HSI special agents recovered images of Gallant and the victim together engaged in sexually explicit conduct, including an image of the victim performing oral sex on Gallant and a close-up image of the victim's genitalia displayed in a sexually explicit manner.
A second federal search warrant was executed on the items seized from Gallant's apartment in the Dominican Republic and revealed a laptop containing numerous images of child pornography, including images of Gallant engaging in sexual conduct with the victim.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Bruce Foucart, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early; Colonel Timothy P. Alben, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; and Chief James Hester, Jr. of the Shrewsbury Police Department, made the announcement today.
This case is being investigated by HSI with the assistance of the state and local law enforcement, which include: Worcester County District Attorney's Office, Massachusetts State Police and Shrewsbury Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney's Michael I. Yoon, Stacy Dawson Belf and Eve Piemonte Stacey, District of Massachusetts, are prosecuting this case on behalf of the U.S. government.
HSI's Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Dominican Tourist Police, Dominican prosecutors in Higuey and Santo Domingo; Dominican Migration; and HSI's Santo Domingo Transnational Criminal Investigative Unit members have provided critical investigative assistance.
HSI's ongoing efforts to target suspects involved in child exploitation offenses are 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 & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.