A Canadian man arrested at a park in Rocky River was charged in federal court with production of child pornography.
Joseph B. Haggerty, 49, was scheduled to be in court Monday afternoon.
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents in Austin, Texas, received a tip that Haggerty had been soliciting nude images from children. Haggerty was scheduled to fly to Cleveland from Toronto on Thursday. HSI agents in Cleveland followed him upon his arrival in Ohio to Linden Park in Rocky River, where he met a minor female, according to a criminal affidavit.
Haggerty had a reservation at the Days Inn on Lake Avenue in Lakewood. He was carrying a bag with clothing, 12 condoms, a stuffed animal and a package of baby pacifiers, according to the affidavit.
The minor he met in Rocky River told agents she met Haggerty on Kik in December 2016 and they subsequently communicated via Skype. She said the calls would last hours and Haggerty would direct her to strip naked and engage in sexually explicit conduct, according to the affidavit.
The girl told her relatives she was going on a camping trip for the weekend but actually planned to go the Lakewood hotel with Haggerty, according to the affidavit.
HSI agents contacted the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Internet Child Exploitation Unit, which executed search warrants at Haggerty’s home. They found nude images of the Ohio minor, contact information for the child in Texas, as well as evidence of an estimated five other potential victims.
“This defendant victimized at least one child and possibly many more,” Acting U.S. Attorney David A. Sierleja said. “This case is another stark reminder to parents that they need to know who their children are communicating with on social media and in real life.”
“Through our partnerships with state, local, federal and international law enforcement agencies, HSI will continue to vigorously investigate child exploitation cases like this one to ensure that special agents continue to serve as a powerful barrier between predators and children," said Steve Francis, Special Agent in Charge of HSI’s Detroit Office, which includes Ohio.
If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violations. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and, in most cases, it will be less than the maximum.
This case was investigated by HSI’s Cleveland and Austin offices, with assistance from the Rocky River Police Department and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian McDonough.
A charge is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
Northern District of Ohio