Officials charge 2 men with child pornography

June 15, 1993|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,Staff Writer

An article yesterday incorrectly described the work relationship between Harford County and an Edgewood man accused of being involved with child pornography.

Ronald Sheridan Graham is employed by a contractor who does work for the county.

The Sun regrets the errors.

Law enforcement officials in Harford and Charles counties, assisted by the FBI, have arrested two men involved in what they described as a child pornography ring based in Edgewood and allegedly using boys from Baltimore as subjects of their films and photographs.

Sheriff's investigators in Harford County, who raided an Edgewood house last week, said yesterday that the ring swapped sexually explicit materials with a network that extended to the West Coast.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

Harford County deputies, assisted by FBI agents, on June 7 raided the Edgewood house in the 2000 block of Starr Court and seized about 35 to 40 Polaroid and 35 mm photographs, as well as about 35 to 40 homemade video tapes and video equipment.

Arrested at the site was Ronald Sheridan Graham, 36, a contract worker for the Harford County Department of Public Works.

He was charged with possession of child pornography and permitting a minor to act as a sexual subject.

Court records showed that investigators reviewing the seized videos noticed a second man who was photographing two youths -- both under 16 years of age -- performing lewd acts individually, together and with an adult.

Police identified that suspect as Jack LeRoy Dennis, 46, of Pomfret in Charles County. He was arrested June 8 by Charles County sheriff's deputies on charges of filming a minor in a sexual act and permitting a minor to act as a sexual subject.

Mr. Graham posted a $25,000 bond and was released Friday from the Harford County Detention Center. He was arrested again later that day and charged with distribution of pornographic materials involving minors.

Mr. Graham remains in jail in lieu of a $15,000 bond. If found guilty, he would face 21 years in prison and/or $52,500 in fines.

Mr. Dennis posted a $10,000 bond Friday and was released. He has owned a 7-Eleven franchise in LaPlata for 21 years. If convicted, he would face up to 20 years in prison and/or $50,000 in fines.

The investigation began May 29 when, deputies say, they learned that collectors of child pornography were using computer bulletin boards to trade their sexually explicit materials in Maryland, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and California.

Investigators said boys were solicited from the Patterson Park area of Highlandtown to be photographed and videotaped for drugs, money or both.

Once the juveniles agreed, they were taken to Edgewood where the alleged photographs and videotapes were made, police said.

The raid also uncovered names of five men involved in the collectors' ring, Cpl. Edward Hopkins of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Harford sheriff's office said yesterday.

"The FBI, Customs and Postal Service investigators can move against those suspects and that could lead to more names and addresses of others in their networks," said Corporal Hopkins, adding that various computer bulletin board services are assisting police.

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