NEW YORK – A Queens man who directed women in the Philippines to sexually abuse children and send him photographs of the abuse in exchange for cash was sentenced early Thursday to 15 years’ imprisonment. Keith Liwanag, 27, was sentenced following his June 2018 guilty plea for the sexual exploitation of a child. This follows an investigation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York’s Child Exploitation Investigation Unit with assistance from Interpol’s Crimes Against Children Unit.
Between September 2016 and October 2016, Liwanag used a Facebook account to direct women in the Philippines to engage in sexual acts with children in exchange for money, and to produce and send child pornography to him over Facebook’s private messaging service. During the government’s investigation, law enforcement seized over 50 recorded video conferences between Liwanag and women engaged in the sexual abuse of children over Facebook and Skype. The investigation revealed that Liwanag shared the videos he created online.
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 16,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2016, more than 2,600 child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 800 victims identified or rescued.
This case was prosecuted out of the Eastern District of New York. Upon completion of his sentence, Liwanag must register as a sex offender.
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. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.
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.
For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page. HSI is a founding member 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.