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Child Exploitation
07/10/2020

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Repeat sex offender sentenced for sexually exploiting children

ORLANDO – An Ohio man was sentenced to 15 years and 8 months in federal prison for transportation of child pornography Friday. This case was investigated by the resident agent in charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Cocoa Beach office and the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.

According to court documents, on June 17, 2019, James Edward Groover, II, 34, of Antwerp, Ohio, returned to the United States from a three-day cruise to the Bahamas, carrying his cell phone and laptop computer. Upon his entry into Port Canaveral, Florida, law enforcement agents conducted a border search of his devices and located 4,638 images and 1,763 videos depicting the sexual abuse and exploitation of infants, toddlers and prepubescent children. The agents also found a digital manual that provided instructions for sexually molesting little girls.

“This repeat child predator did not learn his lesson the first time,” said HSI Orlando Assistant Special Agent in Charge David J. Pezzutti. “This sentencing is a message to this criminal and others, that HSI special agents and our law enforcement partners, like the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, continue to fight to protect the most vulnerable in our communities.”

Sheriff Wayne Ivey stated, “I am so very proud of these agents who are devoted to protecting children. Through their outstanding efforts, an individual who participated in the exploitation of our children has been removed from our communities. I want to thank the US Attorney’s Office for prosecuting these cases and Homeland Security Investigations for all their support in fighting the exploitation of children.”

Previously, in 2005, Canadian authorities located images of child sex abuse on a laptop that Groover had transported across the Canadian border. Groover was convicted of possession of child pornography in Canada.

Groover had pleaded guilty February 6, 2020. The court also ordered Groover to forfeit the electronic devices he used to commit the offense.

The case was prosecuted by the office of United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez, Middle District Florida, Assistant United States Attorney Karen L. Gable.

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 25,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child exploitation material, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2019, more than 3,500 child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 1,000 victims identified or rescued.

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.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 07/10/2020