Greenbelt, Maryland – Patrick Lawrence Wood, age 35, of Silver Spring, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to produce child pornography. Wood admitted that he paid co-conspirators in the Philippines to procure images and videos of children under the age of 12 engaged in sexually explicit conduct requested by Wood.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge James R. Mancuso of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore; and Chief Marcus Jones of the Montgomery County Police Department.
According to his guilty plea, Wood used a social media platform to solicit the production of child pornography and used various digital money transfer services to send payment to co-conspirators in exchange for images and videos depicting children engaged in sexually explicit conduct, as requested by Wood.
As detailed in Wood’s plea agreement, the social media platform sent a Cybertipline Report to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, about a user who had requested, and subsequently paid, another user to create sexually explicit images of a prepubescent male and female and send them via the platform’s private message function. Law enforcement identified Patrick Wood as the user and executed a search warrant at Wood’s residence, seizing a laptop computer, desktop computer, two cellular phones and two tablets.
A search of Wood’s social media accounts and the seized electronic devices revealed that Wood communicated with three co-conspirators in the Philippines to procure images and videos of minors engaged in sexual conduct. Those communications occurred over various digital platforms. Wood routinely paid a co-conspirator for access to videos and images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, including via live feeds involving a child engaged in the specific sexual conduct requested by and paid for by Wood. Images and videos of at least five minor male and female victims, all under the age of 12, engaging in sexual conduct were electronically sent during online chat sessions from co-conspirators in the Philippines to Wood, at Wood’s request, and in exchange for payment by Wood. During the four years prior to Wood’s arrest, he paid more than $40,000 to co-conspirators in the Philippines in exchange for the production of child pornography.
In addition, the investigation revealed that sexually explicit images and videos of at least eight minor male victims 14 to 17 years old were electronically sent to Wood at his request from locations in the United States during online chat sessions. At least one of those minor victims was also paid by Wood, in the form of gift cards and new clothes, for producing sexually explicit images requested by Wood.
In addition to the images and videos of child pornography identified on Wood’s social media and cloud-based storage accounts, the forensic examination of the devices seized from Wood’s home revealed over 150 images and five videos of child pornography. The forensic analysis also showed screenshots of a ticket confirmation for Wood to travel to Manila, Philippines for two weeks, but investigators confirmed that Wood did not ultimately travel there and cancelled the ticket.
As stated in his plea agreement, upon his release from prison, Wood will be required to register as a sex offender in the places where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).
Wood and the government have agreed that, if the Court accepts the plea agreement, Wood will be sentenced to between 17 years and 23 years in federal prison. U.S. District Judge George J. Hazel has scheduled sentencing for May 23, 2022 at 2:00 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 Attorney’s 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 Erek L. Barron commended HSI and the Montgomery County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy F. Hagan, who is prosecuting the federal case.
For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md/project-safe-childhood and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.
# # #