A 43-year-old convicted sex offender who officers say lured a child off a Millsboro street, molested him and took pictures of the crime pleaded guilty March 4 to a child pornography charge.
Harry K. Roche, who lived in an apartment in the 200 block of Main Street, faces a mandatory 25 years in prison and a maximum of 50 years for production and transportation of child pornography.
His recent guilty plea was Roche's fourth conviction for crimes against children. In 1994, Roche was convicted of sexual harassment of a minor boy, and in 2003 he was convicted on two charges: using a computer to depict a child engaging in a prohibited sexual act and possession of child pornography, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward J. McAndrew.
Officers with the Delaware Child Predator Task Force began investigating Roche after receiving a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that Roche was distributing child pornography through an AOL server, McAndrew said.
Officers executed a search warrant on Roche's apartment in January 2013 and seized computers and cellphones with hundreds of images and movies of prepubescent boys engaged in sexual acts, said Kimberlynn Reeves of Delaware's U.S. Attorney's Office. Some images showed child victims who were bound and tortured.
On Roche's iPhone, investigators found images of Roche having sex with a young boy; the date stamp on the photos was Jan. 30, the day before the search warrant was executed, Reeves said.
McAndrew said the federal pornography charge against Roche carries higher penalties than similar state charges. There are no rape charges on the federal level; rape is a state charge, he said.
“He is facing the full brunt of federal penalties, which are much higher than the state,” McAndrew said.
The minumum mandatory sentence is 25 years for Roche's crime, which would put Roche back on the street by age 68. McAndrew said he will push for a higher sentence.
No other victims have come forward, he said.
Over the past two years, McAndrews said, investigators have seen an increase in the number of sex offenders in Delaware.
“It's something we're seeing more of in Delaware because there are a large number of sex offenders coming off state sentences or moving to the area,” he said.