Federal Law Enforcement Arrested for Trading in Child Rape
From the US Mint Police to the Amtrack Police, there are far more federal law enforcement agencies than most people realize. At last count, by the US Bureau of Justice Statistics in 2008, there were 73 federal law enforcement agencies employing approximately 120,000 full-time law enforcement officers, 84.5 percent of whom are men, with legal authority to make arrests and carry firearms. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) employed four out of every five federal law enforcement officers.
Because the US government is not keeping statistics on child pornography arrests and prosecutions, in particular of their own employees, to gather comprehensive data on all arrests of federal law enforcement officers is difficult. It would require examining annual Inspector General reports for every agency, filing numerous freedom of information requests, and reading, case by case, through thousands of federal child pornography prosecution documents available on PACER. Without institutional support, I haven’t been able to conduct this kind of necessary research. Instead, I’ve profile only 43 federal law enforcement employees arrested on child pornography related charges. It was noticeably more difficult to locate photographs of federal law enforcement officers than of local and state police or professors.
Department of Justice (DOJ)
In 2015, DOJ released, “The Handling of Sexual Harassment and Misconduct by the Department’s Law Enforcement Components,” detailing cases from 2009–2012 among federal law enforcement agencies under DOJ’s supervision.
The report begins with this disclaimer:
“The OIG’s ability to conduct this review was significantly impacted and delayed by the repeated difficulties we had in obtaining relevant information from both the FBI and DEA…. Initially, the FBI and DEA refused to provide the OIG with unredacted information that was responsive to our requests… despite the fact that the OIG is authorized under the Inspector General Act to receive such information. After months of protracted discussions with management at both agencies, the DEA and FBI provided the information without extensive redactions; but we found that the information was still incomplete. Ultimately, based on a review of information in the OIG Investigations Division databases, we determined that a material number of allegations from both DEA and FBI were not included in the original responses to our request for the information. We were also concerned by an apparent decision by DEA to withhold information regarding a particular open misconduct case. The OIG was not given access to this case file information until several months after our request, and only after the misconduct case was closed. Once we became aware of the information, we interviewed DEA employees who said that they were given the impression that they were not to discuss this case with the OIG while the case remained open. The OIG was entitled to receive all such information from the outset, and the failure to provide it unnecessarily delayed our work. Therefore, we cannot be completely confident that the FBI and DEA provided us with all information relevant to this review. As a result, our report reflects the findings and conclusions we reached based on the information made available to us.”
DOJ supervises the United States Marshals Service (USMS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). Arrests of federal law enforcement under DOJ’s supervision, on child pornography related charges, include:
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
indicted, March 1986, on child sex abuse charges. Kenoyer had been raping, his children’s ten year old babysitter for over a year. He broke bond and went into hiding after his indictment. Kenoyer was located February 1987, and pleaded guilty to nine charges in June 1987 and was sentenced, September 1987, to nine months in jail followed by two years of house arrest. Kenoyer requested, and was approved by Maine Judge Donald Alexander, to spend his house arrest at Villa Apartments in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho; a complex with a swimming pool, jacuzzi and tennis court. Idaho; however, refused to accept Maine’s sex offender.
on child pornography charges. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced, 11 September 2013, to more than three years in prison. Dietterle was caught when he sent child sex abuse images/videos to an undercover Washington DC Metro Police (MPD). The MPD officer was posing as a man sexually abusing his 3 year old nephew and 12 year old daughter. Dietterle described the rape of the children as “So hot man … how’d it start?” and discussed meeting the detective to abuse the three year old boy. Upon his arrest, the FBI terminated Dietterle’s employment. Dietterle is a registered sex offender.
Brian Haller, a 40 year old cyber-security expert contractor with the FBI,
was arrested, 13 April 2015, on child pornography charges. He was sentenced, 8 April 2016, to two days and one night in jail followed by ten years of supervised release.
Haller was caught in the FBI’s bust of a child rape website called PlayPen. At the time of his arrest he had over 600 files of child sex abuse. His on-line name was “jb” short for “jailbait.” Haller told investigators he liked to watch the abuse of children 12 to 14 years old and also younger children, including a 40-minute video in his possession showing the sexual abuse of an 11 year old girl. Haller was lead for the Seattle, Washington FBI/private-sector cyber-security group. He had access to a secure FBI on-line platform and email system.
Donald Sachtleben, a 54 year old former FBI Agent was arrested, 14 May
2012, and charged on child pornography charges. He pleaded guilty to distribution and possession and was sentenced, 14 November 2013, to eight years in prison. He was also sentenced to charges of disclosing and possessing classified information. At the time of his arrest, Sachtleben was Director of Training at the Center for Improvised Explosives at Oklahoma State University. He was employed with the FBI from 1983 to 2008, as a bomb technician and counter-terrorism investigator. Sachtleben had been using the handle email@example.com when he was caught sending images of child sex abuse. He wrote, “Saw your profile on (a file sharing network). Hope you like these and can send me some of ours (sic). I have even better ones if you like.”
Samuel Kaplan, a 64 year old FBI information technology program manager, was arrested and pleaded guilty, 3 June 2010, to child pornography possession. Kaplan was sentenced, 27 August 2010, to just under four years in jail followed by 15 years of supervised release. Kaplan worked in the FBI’s Chantilly, Virginia office and used “the FBI’s network to facilitate sexually explicit communications.” He was also trading in child rape from his home computer.
Michael Peluso, a 44 year old FBI Civilian Analyst with an undercover unit in
Critical Incident Response Group, was arrested, 9 January 2015, on child pornography charges. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced, 27 May 2016, to no jail time and supervised parole for life.
Peluso was caught trading child rape on-line by an Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Taskforce investigation.
United States Marshals Service (USMS)
Christopher W. McKee, a 37 year old intelligence analyst with the US
Marshals, was arrested on three counts of child pornography. McKee pleaded guilty, April 2013, and was sentenced, 15 August 2013, to five years probation with no jail time. McKee maintained a collection of child sex abuse on CDs labelled “teens” and “teen sluts” in his Arlington, Virginia office and also
Michael D. Rivera, a 29 year old Deputy US Marshal, was arrested on more than 20 charges including child pornography charges. He pleaded guilty,
20 January 2017. In February 2017, he was convicted, in North Dakota state court, of ten misdemeanors and cleared of 11 other charges. Rivera is being held in custody, pending sentencing, currently set in the state case for 13 June 2017, and 17 May 2017, for the federal charges. Rivera was caught for trading in child rape when he was discovered pushing his cell phone under dressing rooms in clothing store changing rooms where
women and girls were undressing. Twenty-one girls and women were victims. When investigators searched Rivera’s home they found a laptop with sexual abuse of children as young as six years old. The US Marshal placed Rivera on unpaid suspension after his arrest.
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
Matthew Barnes, a 34 year old DEA Agent, was arrested, March 2012, on
child pornography charges. He pleaded guilty, June 2015, and was sentenced, August 2015, to just over 5 years in jail followed by five years of supervised release. Barnes was using his government computer to trade in child rape. Barnes was also a member of the Missouri National Guard. Barnes must register as a sex offender.
Darren Argento, a 47 year old, DEA Agent, was arrested, August 2010, for
child pornography possession and distribution. He was sentenced, 17 August 2011, to 7 months in jail followed by five months of supervised release. At the time of his arrest, Argento had over 73,000 images and over 723 videos of child rape, including of children as young as seven years old. He was caught when he brought his personal laptop, filled with child rape, to the DEA office and asked an IT employee for help backing up files. The IT expert reported the child pornography. Argento is listed as a registered sex offender.
James Patrick Burke, a 39 year old DEA Agent, was arrested, 14 August 2015, on child pornography charges. He pleaded guilty, 2 June 2016, and was sentenced, 6 April 2017, to seven years in jail followed by 15 years of supervised release. At the time of his arrest, Burke had over 2,760 images/videos of the rape and torture of children, including infants and toddlers and children being raped when bound and gagged. Burke must register as a sex offender.
Scott Whitcomb, a 48 year old DEA Agent, was arrested, December 2011,
on child pornography production charges. He was sentenced, July 2011, to 25 years in jail. Whitcomb had been producing and distributing sex abuse of boys under sixteen years old since 2007. He lured boys to his house with video games and pornography magazines and then, often violently, sexually abused the boys. He had been an Air Marshal, a police officer and a prison guard before joining the DEA.
Department of Homeland Security
Homeland has refused to maintain, and make public, records of employee misconduct. No one knows how many Homeland Security employees have been arrested on child pornography charges. In response to Senator Grassley’s constant requests for information, Homeland’s Inspect General, in 2014, reported that five employees under Homeland’s supervision had been arrested between 1 April 2014–30 September 2014. That information, without any details of the arrests, is listed here.
The following agencies are under the supervision of Homeland Security: Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Coast Guard (USCG), Secret Service (SS), and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Samples of child pornography related arrests include:
US Coast Guard (USCG)
Christopher Craft, a 41 year Warrant Officer with the Coast Guard, was
arrested on child pornography charges, pleaded guilty and was sentenced, 8 July 2016, to five years in jail followed by ten years of supervised release. Craft was trading in pre-teen hard core (PTHC) which is the brutal rape and torture of young children, including infants and toddlers. Descriptions of some of the images/videos he was trading in appear in his court documents and are noted here. Upon his arrest he had more than 480 images and 111 videos of children being sexually exploited, including images and videos depicting sadistic or masochistic conduct. Craft must register as a sex offender.
Sean Barnhill, a 36 year old Lieutenant with the Coast Guard and father of
young children, was arrested, 8 January 2015, on pornography charges. He pleaded guilty, 13 July 2015, and was sentenced, 30 October 2015, to 15 years in federal prison followed by life-time supervised release. At the time of his arrest, he had hundreds of images/videos of child sex abuse, including 1,650 photos of one child. Barnhill joined the Coast Guard in 1997. The Coast Guard placed him on leave without pay. He will be dishonorably discharged.
Ryan Ruff, a 32 year old a Petty Officer 2nd Class with the Coast Guard,
was arrested, 16 December 2015, on child pornography charges. The Coast Guard took over the case, June 2016, and local prosecutors dropped charges. Ruff was originally arrested on driving under the influence of alcohol. During that arrest police discovered an image of a girl between 7 and 10 years old performing oral sex on Ruff’s cell phone. At the time of his arrest, Ruff had several hundred child sex abuse images on his phone including the abuse of a boy as young as two years old.
Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS)
In January 2017, The New York Times reported that Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) investigators, under Homeland Security, have “repeatedly warned top managers that unaddressed allegations of corruption among contractors could put the immigration system at risk” citing nearly seventy cases including distribution of child pornography on government computers that have not been investigated. It is unclear how many of these seventy cases involved child pornography. Nearly half of all CIS employees, about 10,000, are contract staff subject to almost no oversight. The New York Times said Homeland did not respond to questions about why misconduct investigations of CIS staff have been blocked.
Homeland Security’s Inspector General’s report for 2013, reports a “CIS employee pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography, and was sentenced to 37 months incarceration and 120 months of supervised release.” No further details were provided.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
Steven Metz, a 41 year old Customs and Border Protection supervisor and
terrorism-related smuggling expert, was arrested on child pornography charges and pleaded guilty, July 2013. Metz was sentenced, January 2014, to five years in prison followed by five years of supervised release. At the time of his arrest he had hundreds of images/videos including “sadistic or masochistic conduct or other depictions of violence” of children as young as three years old. He was suspended without pay after his arrest.
Rodolfo Zuniga, a 34 year old Border Patrol agent, was arrested, June 2012,
on child pornography charges. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced, 14 January 2013, to just over three years in prison followed by five years of supervised release. Zuniga was caught trading in child rape after he stole night-vision goggles and sold these on eBay for $10,000. Investigators discovered child pornography during a search of his home. Zuniga was allowed to resign.
Eric Higgins, a 31 year old Homeland Security Customs and Border
Protection agent in Michigan, was arrested on child pornography charges. He was indicted, 22 December 2009, pleaded guilty and sentenced, 9 May 2011, to 1.6 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release. Higgins was caught when a woman he was dating, reported, to law enforcement, that Higgins had young girls on his MySpace page and was engaging in telephone calls with her 11 year old daughter.
During the course of the investigation, law enforcement interviewed another women Higgins had been dating, who had a 9 year old daughter who told investigators that Higgins was soliciting sex from young girls on his MySpace page. Based on these reports, police obtained a search warrant and found child pornography on Higgins’ computers in his home. Higgins said he had been trading in child rape for about two and half years. Higgins must register as a sex offender.
Nicholas Bolden, a 40 year old Homeland Security Customs and Border
Patrol Agent, was arrested, April 2013, on child pornography charges. He pleaded guilty, 30 April 2013, and was sentenced, 31 July 2013, to six and half years in federal prison followed by twenty-four years of supervised release. Bolden was accessing Russian child rape and torture website from his government computer. A CD containing child pornography was also found at his workplace desk.
Gilbert Lam, a 38 year old Homeland Security Customs and Border
Protection Agent who worked at San Francisco airport, was arrested and charged, March 2013, on child pornography charges. He was found guilty, by a grand jury, 18 December 2014 and sentenced to just over a year in jail. Investigators said Lam’s electronic resources were “elaborate” and included “a whole closet… independent server, several computers, several hard drives…” Lam was trading in a known series call the Vicky Series. He appealed the court order that he pay $3,000 in restitution to the child victim and lost his appeal.
Lawson Hardrick, a 64 year old retired Assistant Director of the Calexico,
California Ports of Entry with Customs and Border Protection, was arrested on child pornography charges. He was found guilty, 24 January 2013, and sentenced, 29 April 2013, to ten years in jail. Hardrick was trading in pre-teen hard core (PTHC) the brutal torture and rape of very young children, including infants and toddlers. Hardrick appealed his sentence and in 2014, lost his appeal. Hardrick must register as a sex offender.
Lee Robert Moore, a 37 year old Secret Service Agent, stationed at The
White House, was arrested, 9 November 2015, for soliciting sex with a child while he was on duty at The White House. He had sent pictures of his penis to an undercover police officer in Delaware. He was indicted, June 2016, in Florida on charges of child pornography receipt and attempting to entice a minor. Moore pleaded guilty, 1 March 2017, to both the Delaware and Florida charges. Moore was caught attempting to sexually abuse a 14 year old girl, who was, in reality, an undercover investigator in Delaware. The undercover investigator communicated with Moore for about two months, during the time Moore’s second child was born. Moore was arrested when he attempted to make arrangements to meet the 14 year old “girl.” Moore also had contact with about ten real children. In text messages he said he was “a cop,’’ a “federal officer” and said “Like the Rolling Stones sang, ‘every cop is a criminal.’” Moore has been in custody since his arrest and was terminated upon his arrest.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Micah Monroe Argyle, a 28 year old Federal Emergency Management
Agency’s (FEMA) reservist in Idaho, was arrested and pleaded guilty, 26 April 2012, on child pornography related charges. Argyle was sentenced, 17 September 2012, to three and half years in jail followed by ten years of supervised release. Argyle is a registered sex offender.
Brian J. Murphy, a 48 year old Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) employee, was arrested, June 2001, on child pornography charges. He was sentenced, October 2002, to just over two years in jail He was trading in child rape from his government computer. FEMA placed Murphy on paid leave. He must register a sex offender.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
Enforcement (ICE) for South Florida, was arrested on “extreme child abuse” charges on 28 September 2011. He was sentenced, November 2012, to nearly six years in prison and 20 years of supervised release. Mangione is a 1982 graduate of the University of Maine Orono (UMO) where former Senior Child Protection Services (CPS) Cynthia Wellman claimed, at the time, CPS was operating a child sex ring on campus. “Little is known about Mangione’s time at UMaine. Originally from Rhode Island, he arrived in Orono in August 1978.” Mangione must register as a sex offender.
Brian Doyle, a 55 year old Deputy Press Secretary with Homeland
Security, was arrested “for trying to seduce online someone he thought was a teenage girl.” Doyle was charged with 23 felony charges related to sexually graphic conversations with a person he thought was a 14 year old girl who, in reality was, an undercover detective. On 17 November 2006, Doyle was sentenced to five years in prison followed by ten years of supervised release. Doyle is a registered sex offender. He was released from prison on 11 January 2015.
Robert Rennie, a 43 year old Homeland Security Agent in the
National Protection and Programs Directorate, was arrested, 12 October 2012, and charged with attempting to solicit sexual acts from more than 70 young girls, under the age of 15 years old, via his fake Facebook account. Rennie was indicted, 20 May 2013, on three counts of use of computer to facilitate certain offenses with children. He was sentenced, 23 January 2014, to ten years in jail with five years suspended followed by five years of supervised release. Rennie pretended to be both a male student at a various middle schools in Northern Virginia as well as a college student at George Mason University. Rennie must register as a sex offender.
Transportation Security Agency (TSA)
No one knows if there are more child pornography related arrests with TSA agents than other federal law enforcement, because the government is not sharing the data. Citizen-bloggers have been maintaining public records of TSA misconduct. Lisa Simeone posts, what she calls a master list of TSA crimes and abuse including arrests related to child sexual abuse. US Representative Marsha Blackburn, from Tennessee, also compiled a list of TSA misconduct. Representative Blackburn’s report, from 2012, is located here.
Some examples include:
Michael Scott Wilson, 41 year old Baltimore, Maryland TSA Agent was
arrested, September 2011, on child pornography charged. State level charges were dropped in lieu of federal charges. Wilson was indicated, March 2012, and sentenced, 19 September 2012, to two years in prison followed by 15 years of supervised release. Wilson was trading in child rape that included small children being anally raped by adult men, otherwise known as
pre-teen hard cord (PTHC) which is the brutal rape and torture of young children, including newborns, infants and toddlers. TSA suspended Wilson without pay upon his arrest and later terminated Wilson. Wilson is a registered sex offender.
2012, and charged with 25 counts of child pornography possession. He pleaded no contest, 8 October 2014, and was sentenced to serve concurrently to three and half years in jail for counts 1–19 and three and a half years in jail for count 20 followed by 11 years of supervised release. Upon Smeal’s arrest his “living room was loaded with electronics, storage devices, hard drives.” Smeal is a registered sex offender.
2012, and charged on five child pornography counts. He pleaded guilty, sentenced, 3 September 2014, to probation only until 31 August 2018. Salgado was trading in pre-teen hard core (PTHC) the brutal rape and torture of very young children, including infants and toddlers. Salgado was caught during Operation Corral, a state-wide sweep in Massachusetts that caught 32 other people trading in child rape.
Thomas Gordon, a 46 year old TSA agent in Philadelphia, was arrested,
April 2011, on child pornography charges. He was indicted, 21 April 2011, on 13 counts and sentenced, November 2011, to 11 years in jail. At the time of his arrest, Gordon had over 600 images/videos of child sex abuse including children as young as six years old which were described as “horrific.” Gordon also had as many as six Facebook accounts he used to distribute child pornography.
Thomas Harkin, a 65 year old former Catholic priest who was removed from
the church, in 2002, for the sexual abuse of two children, was hired, in 2002, as a TSA Agent in Philadelphia International Airport. Criminal charges were not filed against Harkin because the Camden Diocese settled out of court with the victims. Harkin had been working with TSA for ten years. Local journalists revealed Harkin’s background in 2012.
Miguel Angel Quinones, a 38 year old TSA Agent at Manchester, New
Hampshire airport, was arrested, June 2013, and indicted, September and November 2013, on twenty-five child pornography counts. He was sentenced, 18 August 2014, on four counts, to be served consecutively, of 2–8 years in jail and four counts, to be served concurrently, of 2–4 years in jail followed by supervised release until 9 October 2020. At the time of his arrest, Quinones, had more than 1,000 child sex abuse images/videos some of which he kept in his TSA airport work locker. TSA terminated Quinones upon his arrest. He is a registered sex offender.
Upon his arrest, Cheever had more than 2,000 images/videos of child sex abuse. He was trading in pre-teen hard core (PTHC) which is the violent abuse and torture of very young children, including infants and toddlers. Cheever must register as a sex offender.
David Ralph Anderson, a 61 year old TSA Agent in Nevada, was arrested,
August 2011, on six counts of lewdness with a child under the age of 14 years old.
In December 2012, a jury acquitted Anderson on all charges.
There is no record of law enforcement conducting a search for child pornography based on probable cause of the child victim’s testimony of abuse.
Paul David Rains, a 62 year old TSA Agent in Orlando, Florida was arrested,
31 October 2011, on ten counts of child pornography related charges. He was sentenced, 9 March 2012, to 51 weeks in jail and 4 years probation, to be served consecutively, on 7 counts, for a total of 28 years supervised release.
Rains is a registered sex offender.
Dwayne Valerio, a 44 year old TSA Agent in New Hampshire, was arrested,
March 2011, on five counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault of a minor. He was sentenced, July 2012, to 20–40 years in jail. Valerio had been sexually abusing a child, starting when she was 5 years old. He was caught when the girl, at the age of 13 years old, reported the abuse to local police.
Charles Henry Bennett, a 57 year old TSA Agent in Orlando, Florida, was
arrested, 15 June 2010, on charged with lewd and lascivious molestation of a minor. He was sentenced, June 2010, to ten year probation with no jail time. Bennett attempted to make a 12 year old girl his “sex slave.” The New York Daily News reported that Bennett’s former MySpace page claimed he was a “S&M-oriented swinger out to meet “submissive females.” TSA terminated his employment upon his arrest. Bennett is a registered sex offender.
Shanahan was caught when the father of a 14 year old girl reported to local police that Shanahan was sending sexually explicit text messages to his daughter. He was indicted 14 July 2010, and sentenced to 3–5 years in prison followed by ten years probation. TSA terminated Shanahan upon his arrest.
Federal Air Marshal Service (under TSA’s supervision)
Pro Publica has a Federal Air Marshal Misconduct Database available here. Child pornography related arrests are not separated but appear to be consolidated under the general heading of criminal conduct/criminal arrest. It is unclear how many child pornography related arrests the Air Marshal’s have had.
Michael McGowan, a 41 year old Air Marshal and Border Patrol Agent, was
arrested, 21 July 2004, on child pornography related charges. He was convicted and sentenced, January 2014, to 180 years in jail. He received 90 years in prison for the sexual abusing three young boys, age eleven to thirteen, and producing child pornography of that abuse. At the time of his arrest he had over 1,300 videos and images of child rape. McGowan was sentenced to an additional 90 years in jail after he sent a letter, from jail, to one of his victims asking them to destroy evidence for him. McGowan dated single mothers with the intention of gaining access to the children for abuse.
Richard Castillo, an Air Marshal in Houston, Texas, was arrested, May 2008,
on charges of indecency with a child. Castillo molested his daughter’s 14 year old girlfriend, while she was asleep, during a sleep-over.
Byungki Koo, an Air Marshall in New York, was arrested, January 2004, on
13 charges, including trafficking charges. He was sentenced, June 2006, to four years probation. Koo, working with an unnamed Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Agent was involved in a sex trafficking ring for a nightclub in Queens, New York. He was caught when a South Korean woman escaped.
What Can You Do?
Do you want federal law enforcement officers in your town masturbating to the rape and torture of children, too often from Russian websites controlled by organized crime? Are you comfortable knowing your tax dollars are helping to fund this serious criminal behavior because too many federal law enforcement are trading in child rape while on duty?
Demand action. Request a meeting with your senators and representatives. Print out this article. Bring it to the meeting and ask for legislation that would require all federal law enforcement under go random electronic searches of their work and home electronics, including cell phones, as part of their hiring agreement; just like random drug testing. Tell Congress to hold federal law enforcement accountable. Ask Congress to demand routine monitoring and oversight for all federal law enforcement and public data on misconduct.
No child pornography should ever be traded by federal law enforcement, let alone from US government computers. Demand an end to the trade in child rape by federal law enforcement. Help protect America and our children.