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Friday, January 16, 2015
Maryland man sentenced to 16 years in prison for production of child pornography
BALTIMORE — A Maryland man was sentenced Tuesday to 16 years in federal prison for production of child pornography involving two girls, ages 10 and 12. The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, Maryland State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) and the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Laiton Blake Witkowski, 42, of Stockton, was also ordered by U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander to serve a lifetime of supervised release following his prison sentence and register as a sex offender.
According to his plea agreement, on October 8, 2013, Witkowski used a file sharing network which enabled a law enforcement officer to download from Witkowski’s computer. After further investigation, a search warrant was executed at his residence on February 6, 2014. Computers, hard drives, other electronic devices and approximately 455 CDs and DVDs were seized, all containing, or were used to produce and store, child pornography. A computer, eMachine and electronic notebook alone contained 8,000 images and 100 videos of child pornography. The CDs and DVDs also contained thousands of images and videos of child pornography, including images and videos involving prepubescent minors, and depicting sadism, masochism and other violence.
Further analysis revealed that Witkowski had produced images and videos of child pornography of two girls in August and September 2009. The girls were approximately 10 and 12 years old at the time. In some images one victim appears to be sleeping, and in other images, the other victim is using the bathroom, or sitting at a computer with Witkowski standing behind her in sexually explicit poses.
“As today’s sentence again demonstrates, HSI is taking child predators off the Internet and our streets, and putting them in federal prison, putting an end to their perverse behavior that has long-lasting traumatic effects on children,” said William Winter, special agent in charge of HSI Baltimore. “HSI will continue to bring predators to justice and protect our nation’s children.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Judson T. Mihok prosecuted the case.
This investigation was conducted under HSI’sOperation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 12,000 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 2014, 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 itsonline 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 theVirtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.
The original press release from Worcester County can be found HERE