Former federal agency official convicted of Internet sex crimes

A former official with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is facing a potential life sentence after a conviction for child pornography. The man, age 56, has been living in Germantown, Maryland, before he was tried in a Nebraska federal court. The man, who had been the acting director of cyber security for the federal agency, was found guilty on three counts of sex crimes after a jury trial.

The man was reportedly convicted of several serious charges, including engaging in a child exploitation enterprise. That allegation alone could carry up 20 years to life behind bars, according to the defense attorney in the case. The man is slated to be sentenced in early November.

Investigators say that evidence presented during the trial indicated that the man viewed and exchanged child pornography several times between March and December 2012. The man reportedly used a specific website that has since been shut down by the Federal Bureau of Investigations. The man was also accused of sending messages to other site members, explaining his fantasies about raping and murdering children.

The man’s defense attorney says that the case brought a number of critical law enforcement topics to the forefront of public opinion. Those include the right of the FBI to conduct searches of both the man’s home and his computer. One of the contentious issues in the case: whether those searches were legal in the first place.

Even those accused of sex crimes deserve fair treatment in the Maryland court system. In this case, attorneys say it is possible that law enforcement officers engaged in illegal search and seizure. Police and other investigators are bound to abide by federal and state laws when conducting such searches, in order to protect defendants’ rights.

Source: NBC Washington, “Former HHS Cyber Security Director Convicted on Child Pornography” Terence Mulcahy, Aug. 26, 2014