Aberdeen Man Sentenced to 14 Years in Federal Prison for Distribution of Child Pornography Related to His Association with a Child Pornography Website

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Charles Hand, age 68, of Aberdeen, Maryland, late yesterday to 14 years in federal prison, followed by lifetime supervised release, for distribution of child pornography in relation to his association with an internet-based child pornography website dedicated to the advertisement and distribution of child pornography, the discussion of pedophilia, and the sexual abuse of children.  Judge Bennett also ordered that, upon Hand’s release from prison, he 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). 

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron and Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office.

“Charles Hand not only facilitated and perpetuated the abuse of children by posting—and helping others to post—child sex abuse material on an internet website dedicated to the sexual abuse of children, but he also exposed himself and engaged in lascivious behavior with at least one child victim.  Hopefully, this sentence will deter others who advocate and participate in the abuse of children.  I am extremely proud of the work done by dedicated and diligent agents and prosecutors that led to the prosecution and conviction of Hand, who facilitated such horrendous abuse,” said United States Attorney for the District of Maryland, Erek L. Barron.

According to his guilty plea, between October 2020 and December 2020, Hand repeatedly distributed child pornography files on a child pornography website to multiple individuals, including to an undercover FBI agent during online chats.  During the chats, Hand repeatedly discussed his sexual interest in children and his desire to sexually abuse them.  Hand repeatedly posted child pornography to certain areas of the website which required users to post a certain number of files of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct to the site.

On at least three instances, the undercover FBI agent downloaded child sex abuse material that Hand posted, including several videos of prepubescent girls between four and eight-years-old being sexually abused by adult males.  During conversations with the undercover agent, Hand also discussed his own sexual activity with a minor child and his wife divorcing him as a result.  

As stated in his plea agreement, on March 3, 2021, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Hand’s residence, seizing multiple electronic devices, including two computers, a digital camera, and a SD card.  Hand used the computers to download, upload, possess, and distribute child pornography, including on the child pornography website.  Hand possessed a total of more than 117,000 images and videos of child pornography on the two computers, including numerous depictions of sadistic or masochistic conduct, depictions of prepubescent minors in bondage, and bestiality involving prepubescent minors. 

Additionally, one computer contained over 9,000 records concerning a known victim of child pornography whose real identity had become known by other pedophiles. That folder contained images of the victim being sexually abused, numerous articles and records about her, her parents, her participation in high school sports, non-pornographic photos of her taken from social media platforms, court records concerning her abuser, and the federal prosecution of the abuser.  Hand also possessed a publication that described how to have sex with children without getting caught and approximately 2,800 “stories” related to sexual activity with children, many of which were written from the perspective of a pedophile. 

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 the FBI for its work in the investigation.  Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul A. Riley and Trial Attorney James E. Burke IV of the Justice Department’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, who prosecuted the 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.

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