Criminal Justice News

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Local Man Pleads Guilty to Traveling Abroad to Engage in Sex Acts with Minors

PENSACOLA, FL—Kenneth Sweeney, 69, of Shalimar, pled guilty in federal district court in Pensacola yesterday to an indictment charging that he possessed child pornography and traveled abroad to engage in sexual acts with minors, announced United States Attorney Pamela C. Marsh, Northern District of Florida.

The investigation of the case began in June 2004, when the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office was notified that Sweeney might have child pornography on his computer. A search warrant was obtained, and it was discovered that Sweeney not only possessed child pornography, but he was also communicating with multiple underage boys around the world. As a result of the search, agents retrieved e-mails in which Sweeney discussed his desire to engage in graphic sexual acts with these underage boys. In one e-mail, Sweeney even admitted to committing sexual acts with boys in the past.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office worked closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation once this evidence came to light. Records revealed significant amounts of travel by Sweeney to Thailand, China, and the Philippines. A federal indictment on these charges was returned by a grand jury in 2007, but Sweeney had left the country by that point and was believed to be living somewhere in southeast Asia. Three months ago, Sweeney was located in the Philippines, trying to renew his passport at the United States embassy. He was located because the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Attorney’s Office had obtained an Interpol “Red Notice” that acted as an alert to authorities abroad as to the indictment pending against him. Sweeney was arrested in the Philippines and returned to Northern Florida.

Sweeney will remain in custody pending sentencing, which is scheduled for December 8, 2010, before Senior United States District Judge Roger Vinson. He faces a maximum of 30 years’ imprisonment for traveling to engage in sexual acts with minors and a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment for possession of child pornography.

This case was investigated by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, the Pensacola Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David L. Goldberg.

No comments: