BUFFALO, N.Y. — A New York man was sentenced to 20 years in prison to be followed by a lifetime of supervised release, for distribution and receipt of child pornography and obstruction of justice.
The sentence was the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Chad A. Salvatore, 40, of Alden, N.Y., was sentenced Wednesday in federal court.
"This sentence should serve as a warning to those who are involved in any way with the distribution of child pornography," said James C. Spero, special agent in charge for HSI Buffalo. "HSI will ensure this type of criminal activity is aggressively pursued and child predators are held accountable for their despicable behavior."
According to court documents, in December 2010, an HSI special agent downloaded graphic child pornography over the Internet using a private peer-to-peer software program from a user, later identified as Salvatore. Salvatore also distributed child pornography to an FBI agent in Rochester, N.Y., as well as an agent with the Colorado Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
The investigation revealed that on June 1, 2010 and July 11, 2010, Salvatore received child pornography from other individuals via e-mail. Following Salvatore's distribution of child pornography, a search warrant was conducted at his residence Dec. 17, 2010. While Salvatore was not present at the time of the search warrant, he subsequently admitted that after being made aware of the search warrant, he destroyed a digital media device by snapping it in half.
At the time of his arrest, Salvatore was a foster parent to a young teenage child, despite having been convicted of molesting three children when Salvatore himself was a teenager.
"This case demonstrates the need for any social service agency that places children in home settings to have full access to the criminal history of the prospective care givers," said U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. "It also demonstrates that if you attempt to take advantage of, or in any way further the victimization of children, you will be prosecuted and could be sentenced to multiple years behind bars."
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-DHS-2ICE 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-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) or its online resource for reporting child sexual exploitation.
HSI is a founding member and the U.S. representative of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.