Rosenstein touts collaborative effort against online child porn

Ellicott City man among those convicted as part of Project Safe Childhood

May 13, 2011|By Don Markus, The Baltimore Sun

Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised Friday the success of a five-year collaborative effort among federal and state law enforcement agencies to fight online child pornography.

While the number of online child pornography cases is on the rise — 36 already in the current fiscal year, the same as the entire 2009-2010 fiscal year — Rosenstein's office has successfully prosecuted all 131 defendants whose cases have been adjudicated.

Of those who have been convicted or pleaded guilty, 25 have received at least 15 years in prison.

Among them was Jeffrey Trantham, a 24-year-old Ellicott City man sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake to 40 years in prison for sexually exploiting a child to produce and possess pornography. His victim was a family member, and Trantham will be sentenced Monday in Howard County Circuit Court on similar charges.

"Children are most vulnerable to victimization by people they mistakenly trust," Rosenstein said in a news release about the Project Safe Childhood initiative. It involves nearly two dozen police departments throughout the state, as well as Maryland State Police, the FBI and several other federal agencies.

"We have stepped up the number of investigations and prosecutions of criminals who sexually exploit children … thanks to the coordinated efforts of local, state and federal law enforcement authorities," Rosenstein said. "Unfortunately, recent cases demonstrate there remains an urgent need to warn parents about the extraordinary risks that pedophiles pose to children, especially on the Internet."

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