BALTIMORE — A Maryland man was sentenced Friday to seven years in federal prison for possessing and distributing images of child pornography. The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the FBI.
Brian Shaw, 23, of Lutherville, was also ordered serve a lifetime of supervised release and to register as a sex offender.
According to court documents, from Dec. 18, 2012 through Jan. 12, 2013, Shaw distributed images and videos documenting the sexual abuse of children, including prepubescent minors, to an undercover HSI New Orleans special agent. A search warrant was obtained for Shaw's email account. From Nov. 26, 2011 through Jan.29, 2013, Shaw's account contained approximately 2,140 emails, most of which referenced the trade of child pornography over the Internet and the sexual exploitation of children. Upon creation of the account, Shaw immediately began emailing others to trade child pornography files. In addition to attaching hundreds of videos and images of child pornography, Shaw also sent links for file sharing services in his email, which gave access to child pornography files.
Based on the evidence in Shaw's emails, HSI obtained a search warrant for his residence. Law enforcement seized and subsequently forensically examined Shaw's computer and other digital media. Approximately 5,860 images and 562 videos of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct, as well as stories describing sex acts with children in graphic detail, were located during the forensic analysis. Some of the images included sadistic or masochistic conduct, or other depictions of violence, and depicted children under the age of 12.
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.