NORFOLK, Va. — A federal jury convicted a Virginia Beach man Monday on 28 counts involving child pornography and destruction of records charges. The conviction resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Robert Harold Scott Jr., 27, faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment when he is sentenced Nov. 12.
According to court records and evidence at trial, Scott assumed the online identity of "Mike Pyro." He would routinely communicate with women in and around southeastern Virginia to set up "sex parties," where the women would work as prostitutes and Scott would pay them for their services. In reality, Scott would not pay them, and on occasion, he would threaten to publish sexually explicit videos featuring them. In May 2013, Scott was convicted in Virginia Beach Circuit Court for felony extortion and larceny based on similar facts.
In addition to the adult parties, Scott conspired to and produced child pornography with at least five different women. Law enforcement found that, when discussing the sex parties, sometimes Scott would request these women produce child pornography, and he was very specific regarding the sex acts he wanted on camera.
Five different women complied, in return for the promise of money. Three of these women already pleaded guilty in federal court to production of child pornography, and one of these women pleaded guilty in Chesapeake Circuit Court. In total, law enforcement identified seven minor victims, between the ages of 1 and 5 years old, involved in the sexual abuse and production.
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 10,000 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 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
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. 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.
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.