Pittsburgh man held on federal child exploitation charges
PENSACOLA, Fla. - Robert J. Kloss, Jr., 37, of Pittsburgh, has been detained on federal child pornography charges, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Pensacola Police Department.
The two-count indictment filed in federal district court in February alleges that between May 2010 and February 2011, Kloss engaged in a series of Internet chats in which he solicited, distributed, and transported child pornography.
During a detention hearing held Thursday, a special agent from ICE HSI testified that Kloss engaged in several online chats with an individual who, unbeknownst to Kloss, was an undercover detective with the Pensacola Police Department.
During those chats, Kloss wrote of his desire to engage in sexual acts with minor females and described how he had begun to engage in such acts with a minor family member. A search of Kloss' computer revealed Kloss had engaged in similar online chats with others and had distributed child pornography via the Internet. The agent testified that, in these chats, Kloss expressed his desire to engage in sexual acts with minors while the children's parents watched.
Trial is scheduled for May 2, 2011, before Senior U.S. District Judge Lacey A. Collier.
Kloss faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and up to 20 years in prison on the charges.
The investigation is part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who prey on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers, and foreign-national predators whose crimes make them deportable.
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.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David L. Goldberg of the Northern District of Florida.