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BALTIMORE—A federal grand jury has indicted Anthony Maurice Cottle, age 23, of Owings Mills, Maryland, for producing and possessing child pornography. Cottle was a firefighter with the Baltimore County Fire Department. The indictment was returned on December 19, 2012. Cottle had an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Baltimore on December 20, 2012, and was temporarily detained. At a detention hearing held today, U.S. Magistrate Judge Beth P. Gesner ordered that Cottle remain detained pending trial.
The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Commissioner Anthony W. Batts of the Baltimore Police Department; and Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department.
According to the three count indictment, in June and July 2012, Cottle coerced two minor males to engage in sexually explicit conduct in order to produce two videos. Cottle allegedly produced one video that depicts the genitalia of a young boy and Cottle performing sex acts on the boy. Cottle allegedly produced a second video depicting the genitalia of another young boy. The indictment further alleges that on September 28, 2012, Cottle was in possession of the videos and other images of child pornography.
Cottle faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum of 30 years in prison, followed by up to lifetime of supervised release on each of the two counts for producing child pornography; and 10 years in prison for possessing child pornography.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
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.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended HSI Baltimore, the FBI, Baltimore Police Department, and Baltimore County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Ayn B. Ducao, who is prosecuting the case.
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