From the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Baltimore:
Michael Dean Ragan, Jr., age 30, of Port Deposit, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to receipt of child pornography.
The guilty plea/sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Acting Special Agent in Charge Lisa Quinn of the United States Secret Service – Baltimore Field Office.
According to the plea agreement, on January 30, 2011, Ragan’s laptop computer, desktop computer, camera, hard drive and other digital media were seized by law enforcement during a search in an unrelated counterfeit currency investigation. Ragan later pleaded guilty to state counterfeit charges. A subsequent forensic examination of the items seized during the search found approximately 335 images and 17 videos of minors, including prepubescent minors, engaged in sexually explicit conduct, including acts of sadism, masochism of other depictions of violence.
In addition, a video was located on a seized DVD that depicted Ragan engaged in sexually explicit conduct with a minor male. According to the statement of facts, the video was taken without the knowledge of the minor male. Ragan admitted engaging in sexually explicit conduct with the minor male and also acknowledged being an administrator on a website dedicated to viewing, sharing and distributing child pornography. Ragan received a video on May 26, 2010, depicting two minor males engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
As part of his plea agreement, Ragan will be required to 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).
The sentencing range for receipt of child pornography is a minimum mandatory sentence of five years in prison and a maximum of 20 in prison followed by up to lifetime of supervised release. Ragan and the government have agreed that if the Court accepts the plea agreement Ragan will be sentenced to 12 years in prison followed by at least 20 years, but up to a lifetime of supervised release. U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander has scheduled sentencing for September 4, 2013 at 10:30 a.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.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the “resources” tab on the left of the page.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FBI and U.S. Secret Service for their work in the investigation, and thanked the Maryland State Police for its assistance. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Judson T. Mihok, who prosecuted the case.