Baltimore Police Swat Officer Facing Federal Indictment For Obstruction Of Justice, Production, And Possession Of Child Pornography
Baltimore, Maryland – A federal grand jury has indicted Donald Hildebrandt, age 51, of Bel Air, Maryland, on the federal charges of obstruction of justice, production of child pornography, and possession of child pornography.
The federal charges were announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner; Special Agent in Charge James R. Mancuso of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore; Colonel Woodrow W. Jones III, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey R. Gahler; Lieutenant Paul Marziale of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office; Sergeant Dave Betz of the Harford County Sheriff=s Office, Director of the Harford County Child Advocacy Center; and Harford County State’s Attorney Albert J. Peisinger, Jr.
Hildebrandt is a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) officer with the Baltimore City Police Department and is currently suspended without pay. According to the court documents, on October 18, 2020, law enforcement received a complaint that Donald Hildebrandt had been discovered in a room with a minor female with his erect penis exposed. Another minor had reported the incident. During an interview at the Harford County Child Advocacy Center (CAC), one of the minor victims disclosed that Hildebrandt exposed himself to her and demanded that she engage in sexually explicit conduct with him.
The indictment alleges Hildebrandt attempted obstructed justice by altering and concealing evidence. According to court documents, in January 2021, a witness informed an investigator that Hildebrandt had reset his tablet. Allegedly, as alleged in previous court documents, a forensic review of the previously seized tablet showed signs consistent with a factory reset. In Hildebrandt’s iCloud account, investigators allegedly discovered a web address to an anonymous communication network within Hildebrandt’s notes application, which opened to a child pornography website. Purportedly, the website allowed customers to anonymously purchase child pornography with cryptocurrency.
The indictment also alleges that Hildebrandt produced child pornography by placing a covert camera into a bathroom he knew to be used by three minor females. As alleged in the indictment, Hildebrandt positioned the camera so that it would capture the minor females exiting the shower and drying off with towels. Hildebrandt allegedly created nude images of two prepubescent females. Hildebrandt allegedly possessed at least two videos constituting child pornography, including one that was over two and a half hours in length containing a compilation of numerous different instances of child abuse, including prepubescent minors being sexually abused.
If convicted, Hildebrandt faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison for production of child pornography; a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison for possession of child pornography; and a maximum of 20 years in federal prison for obstruction of justice. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
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.
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.
Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner commended HSI, the Maryland State Police, the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, the Harford County Child Advocacy Center, and the Harford County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation and prosecution. Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel A. Loveland Jr., who is prosecuting the federal case.
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Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
District of Maryland