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Child Exploitation

Upstate New York man sentenced for distributing child pornography

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — An upstate New York man, who was convicted of distributing child pornography, was sentenced to 108 months in federal prison and 20 years of supervised release. The sentence is the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Joseph Hicks, 45, of Rochester, N.Y., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Charles J. Siragusa. At the conclusion of Hicks' sentence, he will be required to register as a sex offender.

According to court documents, Hicks was identified by HSI special agents who were conducting an undercover child pornography investigation.

HSI special agents executed a federal search warrant at the Hicks' Rochester residence and seized his computer which contained nearly 15,000 images and more than 400 movies depicting child pornography. Some of the child pornography images included violence against children, some as young as infants.

HSI special agents also recovered hundreds of chats between Hicks and other online users from around the world during which he offered to trade child pornography with them. The defendant also gave these other users advice on how to conceal their online activities and how to evade detection by law enforcement.

This investigation is 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.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig R. Gestring, Western District of New York, prosecuted this case on behalf of the U.S. government.