Friday: pedophile posted on sittercity.com and other ‘nanny’ sites
According to a release issued by the United States Attorney’s office, 56-year-old Gary Romano, of the 1700 block of Calamia Drive, was sentenced on Wednesday to 20 years in prison for production and possession of child pornography. He pleaded guilty to the charges in August of this year.
Romano had posed as a babysitter for the sole purpose of gaining access to a 2-year-old girl in order to sexually exploit her. In October 2009, he posted an advertisement on sittercity.com
, a national, on-line nanny and babysitting service. His post read:
“I love kids, reading to them, playing games, doing crafts or making snacks, and other things kids like. Mine are grown now, so I am looking to being kind of a step-grandfather by babysitting to be with kids again.”
Romano even obtained a security background check to offer to prospective clients. He was contacted by corresponded with and was interviewed by a parent who hired Romano to babysit his daughter for only a couple of hours on one occasion. In that short time, Romano sexually exploited the little girl and photographed the exploitation with his cell phone. He then sent the images to another pedophile in Oregon via the internet.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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 to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov
The case was jointly investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with assistance from the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Denise S. Wolf.