A former U.S. Navy petty officer stationed at Submarine Base Kings Bay was sentenced to federal prison after admitting he distributed images of child sexual exploitation.
Anthony Gabriel Ortiz, 23, of Kings Bay, Ga., was sentenced to 74 months in prison after pleading guilty to Distribution of Child Pornography, said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood also ordered Ortiz to pay restitution of $19,000, to register as a sex offender, and to serve 15 years of supervised release after completion of his prison sentence.
There is no parole in the federal system.
“Distributing child pornography shares the pain of victimization endlessly for innocent children who have been exploited,” said U.S. Attorney Estes. “Anthony Ortiz is being held accountable for perpetuating the harm to these vulnerable victims.”
As described in court documents and testimony, Ortiz was in the U.S. Navy assigned to the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command, Naval Weapons Station in Charleston, S.C., when investigators with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in early 2019 found online images of child pornography shared via a messaging application. RCMP alerted the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Cyber Crimes Center, and HSI contacted the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS).
Ortiz, a petty officer third class, transferred in April 2019 to Submarine Base Kings Bay in Kingsland, Ga., where he later was interviewed by HSI and NCIS investigators. He was taken into custody after admitting to possessing and distributing child pornography over the internet, and investigators found hundreds of images and videos of child sexual exploitation on electronic devices in his possession.
“Mr. Ortiz deserves to be held fully accountable for his reprehensible actions to possess and distribute child pornography,” said Special Agent in Charge Thomas Cannizzo of the NCIS Southeast Field Office. “NCIS exists to protect our Department of the Navy warfighters and their families from harm. We sincerely thank our partners at Homeland Security Investigations and the Department of Justice for their continued efforts to combat child sexual exploitation in communities where our DON families live and work.”
“Those who create, view and distribute images of child exploitation create an enduring cycle of trauma and victimization, which is why these crimes are so detrimental,” said Special Agent in Charge Katrina W. Berger, who oversees Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) operations in Georgia and Alabama. “Catching and prosecuting the predators that traffic in these disturbing images takes a team effort and we are very thankful for the great relationships we have with our law enforcement partners.”
This investigation took place under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood, and was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. The case was prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer Kirkland and Project Safe Childhood Coordinator Tara M. Lyons.
Anyone with information on suspected child sexual exploitation can contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 800-843-5678, or https://report.cybertip.org/.