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Child Exploitation

Pennsylvania man charged with production and possession of child pornography

PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania man was charged Monday with production and possession of child pornography, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The Montgomery County District Attorney's Office participated in the investigation.

Gary Romano, 57, of Norristown, Pa., was arrested at his home. According to court documents, Romano was found to have molested a child that he was babysitting, produced images of the molestation, and distributed those images to other pedophiles in the United States. In addition, Romano maintained a large child pornography collection.

If convicted, he faces a possible sentence of 40 years in prison, with a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison, and a $1 million fine.

This investigation was 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-2ICE 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, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.

A defendant is innocent unless and until proven guilty.