Admitted that Over a 25 Year Period He had Sexual Contact with at Least Four Minors
Baltimore, Maryland –David Edward Weatherholtz, age 57, of Berlin, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to two counts of producing child pornography.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein;Special Agent in Charge Andre R. Watson of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Worcester County Sheriff Reggie T. Mason, Sr.; Worcester County State’s Attorney Beau Oglesby; and Colonel William M. Pallozzi, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police.
According to his plea agreement, from at least August 1990 through his arrest in 2015, Weatherholtz had sexual contact and/or sexual intercourse with at least four minors, including family members and a child whom he mentored and taught as owner of the theater business named “OC Jamboree” in Ocean City, Maryland.
On December 3, 2014, an undercover detective corporal with the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office responded to a sexually explicit ad placed on an internet website. Records obtained from the website identified Weatherholtz as the person who posted the advertisement and further indicated that the ad was one of many posted by Weatherholtz from 2009 to December 2014 for the purpose of meeting young males interested in sex.
Weatherholtz and the undercover detective exchanged emails and text messages, in which the detective identified himself as a thirteen-year-old deaf white male who lived with his aunt in Snow Hill. Weatherholtz sent the detective two video files by text messages. In the first video file Weatherholtz depicted himself greeting the purported thirteen-year-old deaf male, and in the second video file he pretended to be the 13-year-old deaf male greeting Weatherholtz.
Weatherholtz arranged to meet the purported 13-year-old male at a restaurant in Snow Hill on December 16, 2014, and indicated that he would bring the boy back to his residence. When Weatherholtz arrived at the meeting location, he was taken into custody. A search warrant was also executed at his home and law enforcement seized numerous computers, hard drives, and other media storage devices. Subsequent forensic analysis of those items recovered numerous still photographs and a video of Weatherholtz engaged in sexually explicit conduct with a minor male victim. The images and video indicate that the sexual abuse began when the victim was 12 years old and that Weatherholtz met the victim through his work as a musician, music teacher and owner of OC Jamboree.
At some point between January and August 2016, the commercial building formerly occupied by OC Jamboree was sold to a new owner. On August 17, 2016, an employee of the new owner found a box on the property that was address to “Aaron Weatherholtz” – the defendant’s dog – and that listed the sender as one of Weatherholtz’s relatives. Inside the box were photos of minor males engaged in sex acts; sheets of paper called “official progress charts” that depicted dated, hand-traced outlines of erect male penises; CDs and DVDs; and two VHS-compatible camcorder cassette tapes. A review of that material revealed three other minor male victims engaged in sexually explicit conduct, including video of Weatherholtz engaged in sexually explicit conduct with two minor family members.
Weatherholtz faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum of 30 years in prison followed by up to lifetime of supervised release for each of the two counts of producing child pornography. According to his plea agreement, the government will recommend a sentence of 50 years in prison, followed by lifetime supervised release. U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander scheduled sentencing for Weatherholtz on May 19, 2017, at 11:00 a.m. Weatherholtz has been detained since his arrest in December 2014.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.justice.gov/psc and click on the "resources" tab on the left of the page.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the HSI Baltimore, Maryland State Police, Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Ayn B. Ducao and Paul A. Riley, who are prosecuting the case.