Gerald E. Roberts, 53, of Little River will spend more than 27 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges that he manufactured child pornography and distributed it to an international network of child predators via the Internet, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Roberts – who was sentenced by Judge Bryan Harwell in Florence – also must pay $92,360 in restitution to his victim and will be on supervised release for the rest of his life once his prison sentence is completed.
Evidence presented at a change of plea hearing showed that Homeland Security Investigations’ cyber crime center discovered on the Internet images of a minor female between four and six years of age engaged in sexually explicit activity with an adult male. The images were posted on the Internet in October 2012. The investigation showed that between Jan. 1, 2010, and Aug. 1, 2012, Roberts – while in Missouri – induced the minor child to engage in sex acts for the purpose of producing child pornography. Roberts was distributing the pornography via the Internet from a residence in North Myrtle Beach, according to the investigation.
Investigators searched Roberts’ residence on Nov. 8, 2012, and found images of the minor child as well as a large amount of other child pornography. Roberts was arrested at that time.
“In addition to rescuing the innocent victim in this case, special agents were also able to unmask the perverse network of pedophiles this monster was connected to,” William Nettles, the U.S. Attorney for South Carolina, said in a news release. “As a result, we have arrested an additional seven child pornographers in the United States and five other child predators overseas in England, Germany and Israel.”
The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Day of the Florence office prosecuted the case.
Contact DAVID WREN at 626-0281.