OMAHA, Neb. — A southwestern Nebraska man was sentenced in federal court Friday for manufacturing child pornography.
This sentence is the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Nebraska State Patrol and the North Platte (Nebraska) Police Department.
Jerald Vrbas, 60, of Palisade, Nebraska, was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison on a single count of producing child pornography. His sentence will be followed by an additional 15 years of supervised release.
Vrbas took sexually explicit pictures of a pre-school aged child in his Palisade home. After taking the pictures he uploaded them to a website where they could be viewed by others. The website reported the violation and the Internet Protocol address of the offending computer to the HSI. Further investigation determined that Vrbas had also distributed the images of the child and other child pornography to an individual in another state and to a third individual in Nebraska.
This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including producing and distributing online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line 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-THE-LOST.
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.