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St. Leonard resident to be sentenced 20 years if court accepts plea

By AMANDA SCOTT

Staff writer

A St. Leonard man who was charged with 40 counts of child abuse, child pornography and possession of child pornography entered a plea agreement Monday in U.S. District Court.

David Wayne Sweet Jr., 24, pleaded guilty to sexually exploiting a minor to produce child pornography, according to press release from United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. As part of the agreement, Sweet must register as a sex offender in the place where he resides, where he is an employee and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, also known as SORNA.

Sweet and the government have agreed that if the court accepts the plea, Sweet will be sentenced to 20 years in prison, according to the plea agreement. His sentencing is scheduled at 11 a.m. June 23 with U.S. District Court Judge Roger W. Titus, the release states.

On Sept. 19, members of the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office Drug Enforcement Unit executed a search warrant at Sweet’s residence based on alleged drug violations. During the search, Sweet’s cellphone was recovered, and subsequent review of the phone revealed 24 sexually explicit images of a prepubescent girl taken between June and September 2013, including pictures of the victim nude in a bathtub. Sweet had deleted the photos, but law enforcement officials were able to recover all of the images.

Sweet was arrested Sept. 27, 2013, when he reportedly waived his Miranda rights and admitted that he inappropriately touched the victim while she was sleeping and took the photos.

In April 2008, a “similar event” occurred involving Sweet when he allegedly inappropriately touched a young boy, according to charging documents. Police said it initially was reported and investigated, but the case was suspended “due to lack of sufficient probable cause.”

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse, according to the release. The initiative is 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.

ascott@somdnews.com