A 31-year-old Colorado man was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday for raping two young California children, filming the act and distributing the tapes as child porn to other pedophiles.
Shawn McCormack, a Colorado Springs resident who used to live in Bakersfield, California, was sentenced to life in prison for four counts of sexual exploitation and two counts of kidnapping, U.S. Attorney Benjamin B Wagner told 23 ABC News.
"McCormack's acts were both vile and heart-breaking, and they may have continued undetected for years but for the imaginative, dogged, and painstaking work of the investigators who brought him to justice."He pretended to be a friend of a Bakersfield couple and stayed overnight at their home on several occasions. During his visits he would sneak the toddlers out of their family's house during the night and film himself raping them at various locations including inside a motel, outside in the woods, and in his truck. Then he would sneak the children back into the house before the couple woke up.
McCormack then distributed the videos he made online, which is where Homeland Security Investigations agents discovered them. Their investigation began in Boston when the videos surfaced on the computer of a suspected child molester in 2010. That man was later sentenced on charges of producing child porn.
Agents were able to trace a television program and a commercial playing in the background of one of McCormack's videos. They used the time and date of the show and a commercial along with furnishing seen in the backdrop of the video to trace the tape to a Bakersfield hotel.
That discovery led them to the Netherlands where authorities discovered a Dutch child molester who was later convicted of sexually assaulting 87 children. Working with their counterparts overseas, Homeland Security agents have been unravelling an international child porn ring involving 140 children and 43 pedophiles of which McCormack was one.Louis Gill, executive director of the Alliance against Family Violence and Sexual Assault, told 23 ABC News, even though the children were young, they will probably suffer trauma for the rest of their lives.
"I think that any right-thinking adult is appalled when a child is hurt. It's heartbreaking to hear of a child being hurt in this manner. They are going to result in things like night terrors, bed-wetting."McCormack was first charged in Sept. 2011 with one count of producing child porn, but more charges were added in Feb. 2012 after agents discovered additional evidence. He pleaded not guilty to all charges, but was found guilty in April of this year and has been awaiting sentencing ever since. The case was part of Project Safe Childhood, part of the Department of Justice's efforts to combat the spread of child porn, online enticement, child sex tourism, and commercial sexual exploitation. Began in 2006 by Attorney General Eric Holder, the initiative has been responsible for jailing more than 11,447 criminals in crimes involving sexual exploitation of children. Since its inception 64 pedophiles have been jailed for life.
HSI Special Agent in Charge Spradlin told 23 ABC News the agency remains committed to safeguarding children in the age of evolving technology.
"The sexual exploitation of children is a heinous crime that leaves lifelong emotional scars on young victims. It is our duty to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Together with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to pursue child predators and make them accountable for their dark and monstrous deeds."Photo by Miguel Villagran/Getty Images