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Child Exploitation

Previously convicted sex offender sentenced to more than 12 years in prison for interstate travel to engage in sex with a minor

BALTIMORE – A previously convicted sex offender from Delaware was sentenced to federal prison Wednesday following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Maryland State Police, the Delaware State Police and Somerset County State's Attorney Office.

Scott Odham, 49, of Laurel, Del., was sentenced March 27 to 150 months in prison, followed by lifetime supervised release for traveling across state lines to engage in sex with a minor. Odham is a previously convicted sex offender, convicted in 2001 in Carroll County for child abuse and indecent exposure.

Upon his release from prison, Odham must register as a sex offender in the place where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.

According to his plea agreement, from 2010 through April 2011, Odham sent repeated and frequent Facebook and MySpace messages, some of which were sexually explicit, to more than 50 high school and middle school females who lived in the western Maryland area. On April 16, 2011, Odham became Facebook "friends" with AS, a 19-year-old girl from Princess Anne, Md., referred to in court as "AS." The two decided to meet and began a sexual relationship. On April 22, 2011, a 14-year-old middle school girl went to visit AS during her spring break and stayed at AS's home. That night, AS and the minor female drank alcohol together and sent pictures of themselves in bathing suits by telephone to Odham. The next day, AS left the 14-year-old female alone while she attended a family event in Delaware. Odham knew that the girl was in the home alone and he traveled from his home in Delaware, to the Princess Anne home where he engaged in sexually explicit conduct with the 14- year-old girl.

On June 1, 2011, Odham sent an inappropriate text message to the 14-year-old, who was in school at the time. The message was seen by her science teacher and subsequently by her principal, who reported the contact to police. The 14-year-old girl was interviewed by authorities and described Odham's visit to the Princess Anne home. The victim stated that Odham offered to pay her to take off her clothes and asked her to watch porn with him. When the victim declined his advances, Odham grabbed her by the hair and demanded oral sex. A state search warrant for Odham's home and an arrest warrant for Odham were subsequently obtained and executed. Numerous pornographic pictures were found on Odham's phone, including photos of Odham's penis and sexually explicit photographs of AS and the 14-year-old victim.

In the 2001 case, Odham had pleaded guilty to state charges of escape and to perverted practices stemming from a video he made, and entered an Alford plea to third degree sex abuse. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison with 10 years suspended. Following his conviction, Odham was sent to the Western Correctional Institution in Hagerstown, Md. From jail, Odham sent threatening letters to the Maryland State Trooper who investigated his case and to his victim.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the DOJ Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals, who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood and information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc.

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 1-866-347-2423 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.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra Wilkinson for the District of Maryland.