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The Aegis
Harford County

Aberdeen man sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for distribution of child porn on a website

A 68-year-old Aberdeen man has been sentenced to 14 years in federal prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release, for distribution of child pornography.

Charles Hand was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett in Baltimore. Hand pled guilty to the charge, which arose from 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, according to a news release from the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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Bennett also ordered that when Hand is released from prison, he will be required to register as a sex offender in the places where he lives, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.

The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron and Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office.

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“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,” Barron said. “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.”

According to his guilty plea, between October 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, authorities said.

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, according to the news release.

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On at least three occasions, the undercover FBI agent downloaded child sex abuse material that Hand posted, including several videos of girls between 4 and 8 years old being sexually abused by adult males, authorities said. During conversations with the undercover agent, Hand also discussed his own sexual activity with a minor child and the fact that his wife divorced him because of his behavior.

As stated in his plea agreement, on March 3, 2021, law enforcement officers 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, the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

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, authorities said.

According to the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, one computer contained more than 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, authorities said.

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The 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, according to the news release. Led by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood provides federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims.

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.


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