Thurmont man sentenced to 18 years in Federal Prison for sexual exploitation of child

21 November 2023- U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Jose Alexander Diaz-Rodriguez, age 23, of Thurmont, today to 18 years in federal prison, followed by 25 years of supervised release, for sexual exploitation of a child, after he broke into his neighbor’s home and took sexually explicit photographs of a child.  Judge Bennett also ordered that, upon his release from prison, Diaz-Rodriguez will be required to register as a sex offender in the places where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”). 

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Acting Special Agent in Charge Ryeshia Holley of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Chief Greg Eyler of the Thurmont Police Department; Chief Jason Lando of the Frederick Police Department; and Frederick County State’s Attorney J. Charles Smith, III.

According to court documents, on July 26, 2021, Diaz-Rodriguez broke into his neighbor’s home and entered the bedroom where Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 were sleeping.  Diaz-Rodriguez got into bed with Jane Doe 1, who was eight years old, and produced a series of four images intending to create sexually explicit images of Jane Doe 1.  DNA from Diaz-Rodriguez was found on swabs from Jane Doe 1.

Jane Doe 1’s mother heard a noise and went into the room where she found Diaz-Rodriguez on the ground next to the bed.  Diaz-Rodriguez fled and was arrested a short time later at his residence.  A search warrant executed at his residence and his cell phone was seized.  A forensic examination of the phone located over 1,000 files depicting the sexual abuse of children, including the four images of Jane Doe 1, which Diaz-Rodriguez had deleted prior to police arrival.

Diaz-Rodriguez further admitted that he distributed child sex abuse material on his social media account, specifically an image documenting the sexual abuse of a child.

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 Attorney’s 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.justice.gov/psc.  For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.justice.gov/psc and click on the “Resources” tab on the left of the page.

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the FBI, the Thurmont Police Department, the Frederick Police Department and the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation and prosecution.  Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul E. Budlow and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Joyce King, who prosecuted the federal case.