November 18th, 2007 14:33 EST
Retired Florida truck driver sentenced to 9 years in prison for Sex Tourism
DETROIT - A Florida man was sentenced here Thursday to more than nine years in prison after pleading guilty to traveling to various foreign countries to engage in sex with minors. This sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Stephen Murphy, Eastern District of Michigan; the case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Karl Kaechele, 64, a St. Petersburg, Fla., resident, pleaded guilty to engaging in sex tourism in August. He admitted that he traveled to several Asian countries specifically to engage in sexual acts with victims ranging between 7 and15 years old. U.S. laws against sex tourism were strengthened following the passage of the Protect Act in 2003. He was sentenced Nov. 15 to 110 months in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Gerald E. Rosen. There is no parole in the federal prison system.
ICE began investigating Kaechele after he arrived at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport from Manila in April 2005. Kaechele stated to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers that he had been out of the country for 90 days and had traveled to Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines.
An examination of Kaechele's possessions by CBP officers and ICE agents revealed nine packets of photographs, which included images of nude Asian females. Also discovered were five large notebook journals containing details of sexual encounters with females, many under 15 years old.
ICE special agents from Tampa, Fla., also executed a federal search warrant in May 2005 at Kaechele's residence looking for evidence of child pornography. They seized a variety of items, including: a computer, peripheral computer equipment and related media, photos and videos. Forensic analysis showed active membership in and a history of visiting numerous child pornographic websites.
"Americans who travels abroad to sexually prey on children in other countries are not beyond the reach of U.S. law," said Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigation in Detroit. "ICE is committed to protecting those who cannot protect themselves. The victims of child sexual predators are at the top of that list." Moskowitz heads a two-state area which includes Michigan and Ohio.
U.S. Attorney Murphy said, "Make no mistake, our law prohibits American citizens from traveling abroad in order to sexually molest minor children. Regardless of the reason - whether it's conditions of poverty or corrupt law enforcement practices in foreign lands that are responsible for fostering such horrible things - we can and will prosecute anyone caught in the U.S. who travels to engage in 'child sex tourism.'"
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 10,000 individuals, including 250 in Michigan.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE. Investigators staff this hotline around the clock.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.
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