- The Washington Times - Monday, October 30, 2006

BALTIMORE (AP) — Four men have been indicted on child pornography charges, federal prosecutors announced this morning as they detailed an expanded program to protect children from online predators.

Among those indicted was James L. Watson, 43, of Pasadena, Md., who is accused of possessing hundreds of thousands of pictures and video files depicting child pornography — including images of bestiality, incest, bondage and physical abuse of minors.

Authorities seized 17 computers and external hard drives from his home.

“Parents who let their children use the Internet without supervision might just as well drop them off alone on the most dangerous street in the world,” U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein said. “There are monsters on the Internet, and they are ready to pounce the moment your child logs on.”

Mr. Watson has been charged with receiving and possessing material depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum sentence of 40 years if he is convicted of receiving child pornography, and he would get between 10 and 20 years if convicted of possessing child porn.

Also indicted were Steven D. Buckley, 36, of Cordova; Robert B. Reeves, 43, of Forest Hill; and David B. Mentzer, 51, of Joppa.

Mr. Buckley is accused of sexually exploiting a girl younger than 12 to produce nude, sexually explicit photographs; trying to receive child porn by soliciting an undercover FBI agent; and possessing images and movie files, including images produced in Germany.

He could be sentenced to up to 30 years on the sexual exploitation of a minor charge.

Mr. Reeves and Mr. Mentzer are accused of possessing still images of child pornography, including pictures taken in Belgium, the United Kingdom and Russia.

Each faces between 10 and 20 years in prison.

Mr. Rosenstein said today that his office’s new strategy to fight online predators, known as Project Safe Childhood in Maryland, will build upon the cooperation among agencies that led to several recent successful prosecutions of child predators, including Brian Dotson.

Dotson was sentenced in July to 35 years in prison for abusing a 5-year-old and videotaping the acts. He was caught after he pawned his laptop and Webcam.

Part of the strategy calls for expanding participation in the Maryland Internet Crimes Against Children task force, headed by the state police, to include law enforcement agencies from all Maryland counties.

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