Crime & Courts

SC man sentenced for having hundreds of pornographic images of children

Meet Ruger, the ‘game-changer’ dog in fight against child predators

Meet Ruger, the newest member of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Ruger can detect the chemical smell of small electronics that humans cannot, which is a ‘game-changer’ in the fight to stop child exploitation and child pornography.
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Meet Ruger, the newest member of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Ruger can detect the chemical smell of small electronics that humans cannot, which is a ‘game-changer’ in the fight to stop child exploitation and child pornography.

Special agents with the Department of Homeland Security were watching a chatroom that they knew was used to trade child pornography. That’s when a picture was posted by a South Carolina man, according to a statement by federal prosecutors.

On Friday, the United State Attorney’s office in South Carolina announced the prison sentence for Marlin Russell Derk.

Derk, 46, of Sumter was the man who posted the pornographic image of the child in the chatroom. The special agent monitored the site in June 2015 when they witnessed the picture Derk shared. After Derk posted the photo, Homeland Security agents raided his home.

Derk had hundreds of videos and images of child pornography, prosecutors said. In the Sumter man’s home and on his computers agents found 111 videos and 489 images. Derk pleaded guilty to having and distributing the child porn in April, The State reported. Derk faced up to 20 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.

U.S. District Judge Mary Geiger sentenced Derk to more than 12 years in federal prison. He’ll spend 151 months behind bars without parole. Following Derk’s release he’ll be under court-ordered supervision for the remainder of his life. He’ll also have to register as a sex offender, attend sex offender treatment and submit to computer monitoring. He cannot have unsupervised contact with minors and will be submitted to random lie detector tests.

“The case was investigated by Department of Homeland Security Investigations and prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse,” a statement from prosecutors said. “Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices, 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 identify and rescue victims.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney William E. Day, II, of the Columbia office was the lead prosecutor.

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