BALTIMORE — David C. Andrews, age 52, of Salisbury, pleaded guilty July 8 to distribution of child pornography.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Acting Special Agent in Charge Ivan Arvelo of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); and Worcester County Sheriff Reggie T. Mason, Sr.; Colonel William M. Pallozzi, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; Wicomico County Sheriff Michael A. Lewis; and Wicomico County State’s Attorney Matthew Maciarello.
According to Andrews’ plea agreement, between May 28 and July 12, 2010, Andrews made files depicting children engaged in sexually explicit conduct available to others through a file sharing program installed on his computer. On July 17, 2010, a Wicomico County Sheriff’s detective working on undercover investigations of individuals trafficking child pornography through the use of file sharing programs was able to download child pornography being shared using the internet account at Andrews’ residence. A search warrant was executed at Andrews’ home and law enforcement located Andrews’ computer which contained 49 images and approximately 160 video segments of child pornography. Andrews admitted that he collected and shared child pornography over the internet, including the video downloaded by the detective. On October 12, 2011, Andrews pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography in Wicomico County Circuit Court. The charge for possession of child pornography with intent to distribute was dropped.
Also according to Andrews’ plea agreement, on May 12, 2014, a Worcester County Sheriff’s Office detective was conducting an online investigation for individuals using file sharing software to share child pornography. During the investigation, the detective downloaded a video from Andrews that depicted a prepubescent girl engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Investigators determined that the IP address associated with the account was assigned to Andrews’ residence.
On June 20, 2014, Andrews saw law enforcement officers conducting surveillance and photographing his home in preparation for obtaining a search warrant. Andrews admitted that on June 22, 2014, he ran memory-wiping software on the hard drive and reinstalled the operating system, thereby deleting any files or images, including any files containing child pornography from his laptop. When law enforcement executed a search warrant at Andrews’ home on June 24, 2014, they were initially unable to find any devices belonging to Andrews or that appeared to be associated with child pornography. After locating Andrews’ laptop in the laundry room, investigators realized the hard drive had been removed. Andrews directed the investigators to a truck tire in the back yard of the uninhabited house next door where law enforcement recovered a gallon zip lock bag containing the hard drive from the laptop, as well as a tablet computer.
Although a forensic examination of the laptop hard drive was not able to recover any images or files, a forensic analysis of the tablet recovered 142 images of child pornography. Andrews admitted that he attempted to delete the files in an attempt to conceal them from investigators. Twenty-five of the images belonged to a series of child pornography whose victim(s) were previously identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
As part of his plea agreement, Andrews must register as a sex offender in the place where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). In addition, Andrews will be required to pay restitution to any identified victims used to produce the child pornography Andrews distributed.
Andrews and the government have agreed that if the Court accepts the plea agreement Andrews will be sentenced to between 70 and 87 months in prison. U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett has scheduled sentencing for October 27, 2015 at 3:00 p.m.
This 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.justice.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.justice.gov/psc and click on the “resources” tab on the left of the page.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended HSI Baltimore, the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, Maryland State Police, Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office, and the Wicomico County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation and prosecution. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Myers, who is prosecuting the case.