A 46-year-old Fairfax man is facing more than a decade in prison after being indicted last week by a Federal grand jury in Alexandria. He is Padraic Collins, and he was indicted Thursday, Jan. 23, on a charge of production of child pornography.
According to U.S. District Court documents, he was allegedly found in possession of videos containing child pornography while he tried to cross the border into Canada. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington received information from HSI Toronto regarding Collins at the Lansdowne, Canada Port of Entry.
He was arrested by the Canadian Border Services Agency and charged with importing and possessing child pornography files on a handheld video camera and a laptop. Authorities say the seven videos confiscated reportedly show Collins engaging in sexual activity with an underage girl.
HSI Washington, in coordination with HSI Toronto and the Ottawa Provincial Police, determined the identity of the 11-year-old child in the videos. Court documents state that she allegedly identified Collins as her abuser and confirmed the details of the sexual abuse.
According to authorities, the girl reported that the crime happened in Springfield. The indictment lists the alleged offense date as Dec. 18, 2011. It also states that the visual evidence documenting it was contained on Collins’s Sony Handycam video camera and his Dell Latitude laptop computer.
If he is convicted, Collins could be sentenced to anywhere from a mandatory minimum of 15 years behind bars to a possible maximum of 30 years. He’s scheduled for arraignment this Friday, Jan. 31, at 9 a.m., before Judge Claude Hilton in U.S. District Court in Alexandria. His plea or trial date should be set at that time.
The investigation was conducted by HSI Washington, with assistance from HSI Toronto, HSI Buffalo, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Ottawa Provincial Police and the U.S. Marshals Service. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Alicia J. Yass, a trial attorney with the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the U.S. Justice Department’s Criminal Division, is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
Dana J. Boente, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Scot R. Rittenberg, Acting Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), HSI Washington, made the announcement about Collins after the grand jury returned the indictment against him to U.S. Magistrate Judge T. Rawles Jones Jr.
This prosecution is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.
Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood uses federal, state and local resources to better find, apprehend and prosecute people who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information, go to www.projectsafechildhood.gov.