NEW HAVEN, CT - Kevin J. O'Connor, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that Dennis P. Hartigan, 57, of Ridge Circle, Storrs, Connecticut, waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty today before Chief United States District Judge Robert N. Chatigny in Hartford to one count of receipt and distribution of child pornography.
According to documents filed with the Court and statements made in court, in October 2006, a Special Agent from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) initiated a federal investigation following the execution of a state search and seizure warrant in Yuma, Arizona, during which computer components were seized and an individual was arrested for sending and receiving child pornography images over the Internet. As a result, ICE agents identified a user with a particular email address who was participating in the email trafficking of child pornography files. The email address subsequently was traced to Hartigan. On July 2, 2007, agents executed a federal search and seizure warrant at Hartiganâ€™s residence. The search revealed multiple images and videos of child pornography that Hartigan maintained on the hard drive of his personal computer located in the residence. A second computer, which Hartigan utilized for union work pursuant to his employment in dining services at the University of Connecticut, did not contain any illegal images
Following today's court proceeding, Hartigan was released on a $100,000 bond with electronic monitoring.
Hartigan is scheduled to be sentenced on April 11, 2008, at which time he faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years, a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000.
This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Deborah R. Slater.
U.S. Attorney O'Connor noted that this prosecution is part of the U.S. Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood Initiative, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
To report cases of child exploitation, please visit http://www.cybertipline.com.