David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that Juan Carlos Melendez, 33, a citizen of Peru last residing on Highland Road in Stamford, pleaded guilty yesterday before United States District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford to one count of receipt of child pornography.
According to court documents and statements made in court, on March 2, 2010, agents with the Connecticut Computer Crimes Task Force conducted a court-authorized search of Melendez’s Stamford residence and seized computer components, including an external hard drive. On that date, Melendez told agents that he had approximately 90 gigabytes of images and videos of child pornography. Subsequent forensic analysis of the computer components revealed thousands of identified images and videos of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The images and videos contained depictions of prepubescent minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and depictions of sadistic and masochistic conduct involving minors.
Forensic review also confirmed that Melendez shared child pornography with others through a peer-to-peer file sharing program.
Judge Bryant has scheduled sentencing for July 17, 2012, at which time Melendez faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
Melendez has been detained since his arrest on November 22, 2010.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Connecticut Computer Crimes Task Force, which includes federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The Stamford Police Department has provided valuable assistance to the investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Deborah R. Slater.
The Connecticut Computer Crimes Task Force investigates crimes occurring over the Internet, including computer intrusion, Internet fraud, copyright violations, Internet threats and harassment, and online crimes against children. The task force also provides computer forensic review services for participating agencies. The task force is housed in the main FBI office in New Haven, Connecticut. For more information about the task force, please contact the FBI at 203-777-6311.
U.S. Attorney Fein noted that this prosecution is part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood Initiative and the District of Connecticut’s Operation Constant Vigilance, which are aimed at protecting children from sexual abuse and exploitation. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
To report cases of child exploitation, please visit Cybertipline.com.