Local man indicted on child porn charges

He's accused of photographing, performing sex acts with teens he met in Internet chat rooms

Severn

October 29, 2004|By Stephanie Hanes | Stephanie Hanes,SUN STAFF

A Severn man was indicted in federal court this week on child pornography charges that read like a parent's nightmare.

Danny Lee Fleck, 58, of the 8200 block of Clearwater Court is accused of preying on young teens in Internet chat rooms and meeting at least one at an Anne Arundel County school, according to the indictment. Investigators also accused him of performing sex acts with the young girls and photographing them.

The indictment in U.S. District Court in Baltimore comes at the end of a months-long investigation into Fleck, which started last October when screeners at Baltimore-Washington International Airport reportedly found explicit photographs of young girls in his carry-on luggage. Investigators say he was on his way to Texas.

Over the past year, court papers say, FBI investigators have pieced together the case, tracking down alleged victims across the country whom Fleck contacted over the Internet.

This month, agents arrested Fleck on a criminal complaint - a tool sometimes used by law enforcement officials to get someone off the street quickly. On Tuesday, a federal grand jury handed up an indictment on a charge of creating child pornography.

Fleck has been incarcerated since Oct. 15, according to the Maryland U.S. attorney's office. His attorney, federal public defender Gregory Gilchrist, said he could not comment on the case.

The investigation was part of the FBI's Innocent Images initiative - a relatively recent effort aimed at stopping child porn production and trafficking. The FBI says that between 1996 and this year, there has been a 2,241 percent increase in the number of child porn cases the agency has opened.

"Innocent Images focuses on online organizations that exploit children for professional or personal gain," and on individuals who travel to commit sex acts with children, said Richard Wolf, a special agent in the FBI's Baltimore office.

Wolf said the program also focuses on child porn producers, distributors and possessors.

According to court papers, Fleck pretended in a chat room to be a teenage boy named "Daniel Zane" and persuaded an eighth-grade girl from Anne Arundel County, referred to as "Jane Doe," to meet him after school.

When he met her in the school parking lot, he said he was "Daniel Zane's father," the girl told investigators, and said his son was working. He told her she should come to their house the next day.

Later, Jane Doe took a cab to Fleck's home, according to court papers. He gave her a "speed pill," the girl said, and engaged in sex acts with her. He took Polaroid photos that investigators describe as pornography.

Investigators said that in Fleck's carry-on at BWI, they found other letters addressed to "Danny Zane," some with graphic descriptions of sexual activity between the young senders and Fleck.

Over the past year, investigators have tracked down and interviewed at least seven victims, they wrote in court papers.

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