JACKSONVILLE, FL—United States Attorney Robert E. O’Neill announced today that Charles Lee Gorish (66, St. Augustine) has been charged by a federal criminal complaint with transporting child pornography from Florida to Canada. If convicted, Gorish faces at least 15 years and up to 40 years in federal prison. He was arrested at his St. Augustine residence on September 7, 2012.
According to the criminal complaint, Gorish sent a package via Federal Express to an individual in Ontario, Canada. The package contained, among other things, two micro SD media cards with numerous images of child pornography. It was intercepted by Canadian law enforcement officers. Canadian officials notified the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office (SJCSO), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations regarding the seizure of this package.
Further investigation revealed that Gorish is a registered sex offender. According to court records, he was convicted on February 24, 1992, in Hillsborough County, Florida, for lewd and lascivious conduct on a child under 16 years of age. On September 7, 2012, FBI agents and SJCSO personnel executed a federal search warrant at Gorish’s residence. During an interview, Gorish admitted, among other things, that he acquired the files on the SD cards, depicting sexually explicit images of boys, from the Internet over a period of years. He was subsequently arrested.
A criminal complaint is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Canadian Border Services Agency, Ottawa Police Services, St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D. Rodney Brown.
It is another case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “Resources.