MARYLAND REPEAT SEX OFFENDER SENTENCED TO 25 YEARS FOR PRODUCING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz sentenced Robert Paul Layton, age 48, of Dundalk, Maryland, today to 25 years in prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release for sexual exploitation of a minor to produce child pornography and possession of child pornography, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. In 1994, Robert Paul Layton was convicted of a third degree sex offense in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and is already a registered sex offender. Judge Motz also ordered Layton to forfeit his home, car, computer and other property seized at his residence.

“Thanks to a coordinated effort by local and federal law enforcement officials, Robert Layton will not be able to victimize any more children,” stated United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein.

According to the plea agreement, on February 7, 2007, a search warrant was executed at Layton’s home. The search warrant was based in part on statements by a 13 year old boy and 14 year old boy that they had been sexually abused by Layton. Subsequent investigation and forensic examination of Layton’s computer revealed that in the summer of 2003 Layton coerced a 14 or 15 year old minor male to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct. Layton sexually abused additional minor boys, ranging in age from 11 to 15 years old. Layton would give the minor boys cash, alcohol and marijuana in return for the performance of sexual acts and would permit the minor boys to view pornography at his residence.

Forensic examination of Layton’s computer and associated thumb drive revealed numerous movies constituting child pornography, and numerous deleted images of child pornography. Six movies on Layton’s computer depicted prepubescent minors.

Finally, between 2004 and 2006, Layton traveled to South Dakota in order to engage in sexual activity with a minor boy and caused the boy to travel to Baltimore from South Dakota. The abuse started when the boy was 13 years old.

Layton pled guilty in Baltimore County Circuit Court on October 10, 2007 to two counts of second-degree sex offense arising out of his sexual contact with a minor boy at his home in January of 2007. Layton faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison at his sentencing tomorrow in state court.

This case is being brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, the Department of Justice launched Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit //www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Baltimore County Police Department for their investigative work, and expressed appreciation to Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott D. Shellenberger and Assistant State’s Attorney Sue Hazlett for their assistance in this case. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Bonnie S. Greenberg, who prosecuted the federal case.

Published in: on November 19, 2007 at 10:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Author unveils world of predators

As police crack down on child porn rings, online social networks offer personal information that makes it easier to lure children, said an author who studied the crime.

An estimated 60% of teens have a personal website listing their birthday, hometown, hobbies or other sensitive information that can help sexual predators exploit them, said Julian Sher, author of One Child at a Time: Inside the Fight to Rescue Children from Online Predators.

“No teen would talk to a stranger on the street but how many have online buddies, with no idea what their real identity is?” said Sher. “Your online buddies should be only people you know in the real world.”

Beyond Borders, an agency that lobbies against child sexual exploitation, said the problem is all too common.

“We know one child in five has been approached on the Internet for sexual activity,” said Roz Prober, president of Beyond Borders’ Winnipeg chapter. Prober said the justice system doesn’t give harsh enough sentences to those convicted of exploiting children online. Sentences for Internet-linked child porn convictions in Winnipeg varied over this year. But the penalties often included house arrest or jail terms of less than one year, including the following:

– Nov. 1: Shawn David Ramesar was sentenced to nine months in jail for one count of Internet luring after he was convicted of having explicit sexual chats with a volunteer posing as a 13-year-old girl.

– Oct. 10: Richard Ainley was sentenced to 90 days in jail, to be served on weekends, after police found a handful of child porn pictures on his computer.

– Aug. 30: The Manitoba Court of Appeal upholds a house arrest sentence of 18 months for Timothy Kozun, a man convicted of trading violent child pornography images around the world. Some of the 3,500 images depicted the rape and torture of children as young as five years old.

– Feb. 28: Lyle Dick received two years supervised probation for possessing child pornography. The sentence came after the judge heard Dick once served two years in a Los Angeles prison for the same charge. “The sentences are inadequate and therefore the message to the public of deterrence and denunciation is not happening,” said Prober. “You can’t denounce a crime with house arrest.”

But Sher notes police have made considerable gains in finding and charging online predators.

He said specialized police squads and a global police database that allows officers to share tips in these cases have helped nab more predators.

“I think there is a chipping away at the arrogance predators once had,” said Sher. “They used to believe they were invincible, that the police couldn’t catch them.”

Published in: on November 19, 2007 at 4:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Why wasn’t suspect on the sex offender registry?


A Princeton man and former reporter for the Clarion Newspaper makes his first court appearance on public indecency charges. The charge is a misdemeanor, but for Herman Lopez it’s a felony because he’s been convicted of this crime many times before.

You won’t see his name on the Indiana sex and violent offender registry though, so 14 News went to the Sheriff’s Office Friday to find out why.

Thursday, Herman Lopez was charged with indecent exposure. He allegedly had gone into the Marshall’s near Eastland Mall a week ago and exposed himself in one of the aisles with other customers nearby.

The whole incident was captured on store security cameras. For Lopez, this has been a pattern of behavior, but so far he’s managed to avoid being part of the sex offender registry. That may soon change.

The incident at Marshall’s is only the latest bit of trouble for Herman Lopez. There’s a case pending in Bloomington, Indiana and three convictions of lewdness in New Jersey. In 2004, he pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor counts of public indecency for exposing himself at the west side Goodwill.

In 2000, Sheriff’s Deputies say the east side Kohl’s had surveillance video of Lopez fondling himself through his clothes and placing pornographic material throughout the store. The case was turned over to the prosecutor’s office, but he was never charged due to insufficient evidence.

Despite all of that, you won’t see Herman Lopez’s face when you log onto the Indiana sex and violent offender registry.

Detective Corporal Tom Wedding, Vanderburgh Co. Sheriff’s Office, says, “Indecent exposure or public indecency is not a crime if you’re convicted of that you would have to register as a sex offender.”

Sheriff Eric Williams is among many who thinks those offenses definitely have their place alongside rape, criminal deviate conduct and child molesting.

Sheriff Eric Williams, Vanderburgh County, says, “Peeping toms, voyeurism all those kinds of things are probably precursors to becoming more serious offenders and if not, I still want to know if that guy’s living in my neighborhood.”

The Sheriff hopes legislators will review and modify the list periodically or change the law so it would be up to a judge to determine if someone should be on the registry. As for Lopez, he may soon make the registry after all. His charge in Bloomington is vicarious sexual gratification.

Corporal Wedding says, “If he is convicted of that particular charge, he will be ordered to register as a sex offender either for ten years or for life, depending on the age of his victim.”

Corporal Wedding says the public should remember that the sex offender registry does not prevent someone from committing a crime. It is only a tool for the public to use to know who lives, works and studies in their community.

Published in: on November 19, 2007 at 7:14 am  Leave a Comment  

Why wasn’t suspect on the sex offender registry?


A Princeton man and former reporter for the Clarion Newspaper makes his first court appearance on public indecency charges. The charge is a misdemeanor, but for Herman Lopez it’s a felony because he’s been convicted of this crime many times before.

You won’t see his name on the Indiana sex and violent offender registry though, so 14 News went to the Sheriff’s Office Friday to find out why.

Thursday, Herman Lopez was charged with indecent exposure. He allegedly had gone into the Marshall’s near Eastland Mall a week ago and exposed himself in one of the aisles with other customers nearby.

The whole incident was captured on store security cameras. For Lopez, this has been a pattern of behavior, but so far he’s managed to avoid being part of the sex offender registry. That may soon change.

The incident at Marshall’s is only the latest bit of trouble for Herman Lopez. There’s a case pending in Bloomington, Indiana and three convictions of lewdness in New Jersey. In 2004, he pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor counts of public indecency for exposing himself at the west side Goodwill.

In 2000, Sheriff’s Deputies say the east side Kohl’s had surveillance video of Lopez fondling himself through his clothes and placing pornographic material throughout the store. The case was turned over to the prosecutor’s office, but he was never charged due to insufficient evidence.

Despite all of that, you won’t see Herman Lopez’s face when you log onto the Indiana sex and violent offender registry.

Detective Corporal Tom Wedding, Vanderburgh Co. Sheriff’s Office, says, “Indecent exposure or public indecency is not a crime if you’re convicted of that you would have to register as a sex offender.”

Sheriff Eric Williams is among many who thinks those offenses definitely have their place alongside rape, criminal deviate conduct and child molesting.

Sheriff Eric Williams, Vanderburgh County, says, “Peeping toms, voyeurism all those kinds of things are probably precursors to becoming more serious offenders and if not, I still want to know if that guy’s living in my neighborhood.”

The Sheriff hopes legislators will review and modify the list periodically or change the law so it would be up to a judge to determine if someone should be on the registry. As for Lopez, he may soon make the registry after all. His charge in Bloomington is vicarious sexual gratification.

Corporal Wedding says, “If he is convicted of that particular charge, he will be ordered to register as a sex offender either for ten years or for life, depending on the age of his victim.”

Corporal Wedding says the public should remember that the sex offender registry does not prevent someone from committing a crime. It is only a tool for the public to use to know who lives, works and studies in their community.

Published in: on November 19, 2007 at 7:14 am  Leave a Comment  

Sexual predator targets children

Police fear a sexual predator targeting children may be on the prowl again in Christchurch.

In March police investigated three incidents involving a man trying to lure children into his car.

Now they believe he’s back.

The man is targeting children around the suburbs of Merivale and Papanui.

Both parents and schools are being extra vigilant with security in the area.

“We’ve tightened up security. We’ve always had teachers on the gates now. We’ve actually made it a rule that at quarter past three when the bell rings, and any child left at the gate must come in,” says Paparoa Street School Principal Sue Ashworth.

Police have released details of a vehicle they’re looking for.

“A grey or silver four door Japanese saloon car, and it’s distinctive in that the number plates are the old black number plates as opposed to the modern white plates,” says Senior Sergeant Roy Appley.

Until the man’s identified, police say there’s a reasonable degree of risk for young people in the area.

Published in: on November 19, 2007 at 3:02 am  Leave a Comment