According to a USAO press release on Oct. 12, 2012, Roberto A. Darden, 25, of Newport News, Va., was sentenced to 50 years in prison for his role in a conspiracy to produce child pornography, as well as witness tampering.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Juan C. Molina, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge Arenda Wright Allen.
“Roberto Darden changed a 13-year-old girl’s life forever by forcing her to endure violent sexual assaults and memorializing them all on video,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “Today’s sentence is just punishment for a man who lured this young girl to a hotel, filmed her sexual abuse, and then used the videos to blackmail her into prostitution – a well-rehearsed pattern he had used on young women before this one.” (USAO press release)
Darden pled guilty to conspiring to produce child pornography and witness tampering on Nov. 23, 2011. According to court documents, Darden, along with co-defendant Ujima Crudup obtained money in exchange for sex acts performed by a 13-year-old victim. The defendants transported the victim to hotels in Hampton Roads to engage in prostitution and provided alcohol and illegal drugs to the victim. Darden and Crudup then videotaped the victim engaged in sex acts, and Darden used the videotape to coerce the victim into signing a contract explaining the requirements of being a prostitute and working for the defendants. The defendants made fliers and posted additional advertisements on the Internet. The victim was provided a cell phone with which to communicate with prostitution customers.
Following his arrest, Darden contacted a woman from jail and told her to lie to investigators about knowing him or anything about his business. He also solicited the woman to contact the victim and offer the victim money in exchange for her silence.
Crudup pled guilty to his participation in the conspiracy to produce child pornography on Aug. 15, 2011, and was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Nov. 29, 2011.
This case was investigated by FBI. Assistant United States Attorneys Elizabeth Yusi and Lisa McKeel are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
This case was brought as 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 the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc