WOC Man Sentenced in Child Porn Case

WEST OCEAN CITY- A West Ocean City man, convicted in March on federal child pornography possession charges, was sentenced last week in U.S. District Court to 10 years in prison followed by a lifetime of supervision upon his release.

U.S. District Court Judge William Nickerson last Thursday sentenced Lawrence Franklin King III, 41, of Ocean City, to 10 years in jail followed by supervised release for life for possession of child pornography. King, a convicted sex offender living in West Ocean City after a 2002 conviction in Baltimore, will also be required to register as a sex offender. He was facing as many as 20 years after his conviction in late March.

The investigation into King’s most recent activities began when the Anne Arundel Police Department received information last summer the registered sex offender was in possession of child pornography. State Police troopers assigned to the Maryland Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force then assisted Anne Arundel authorities, with assistance from local law enforcement, with the execution of a search warrant on King’s West Ocean City home.
During the search of King’s home on Oct. 1, 2010, law enforcement officials recovered over 600 videos and images documenting the sexual abuse of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The images included prepubescent children as well as depictions of sadistic and masochistic activity. 
King later admitted to downloading thousands of images of child pornography from the Internet, which he stored on his computer. He also admitted he had to move child pornography from his laptop to CDs and DVDs to free up space on his computer for more downloads. His formal plea agreement outlines how he catalogued the pornography by gender and age including files he labeled as his favorites.
King was charged initially in Worcester with 13 counts of possession of child pornography, but the local charges were dropped in February when he was indicted in U.S. District Court on federal child possession charges. In March, King pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to a single child pornography possession charge.
In an unrelated case, Dustin Anthony Axelrod, 27, of Salisbury, pleaded guilty last week to receipt of child pornography.  According to his plea agreement, in January 2009, Axelrod was sharing files on the Internet when an undercover Wicomico County detective downloaded several of the files.  The files contained images of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. 

Agents seized a computer and two hard drives during a search executed at Axelrod’s home on February 4, 2009 and recovered over 600 images and movies of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, including children under the age of 12.  Axelrod faces a minimum mandatory sentence of five years in prison and a maximum of 20 year in prison, followed by supervised release for up to life.  U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. has scheduled sentencing for September 20, 2011 at 1:00 p.m.

Both cases were brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.  Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.

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