PROVIDENCE, RI — When Thomas M. Hammond, 54, of Lincoln, agreed to meet an acquaintance so he could molest the man’s 10-year-old stepdaughter in Warwick in June 2017, he was arrested by undercover officers instead, according to U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Cunha’s office.
Hammond had actually been speaking with a member of the Rhode Island Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). He was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith to 15 years in federal prison, to be followed by seven years of federal supervised release, Cunha’s office announced.
Hammond arranged to meet with the stepfather, and to accompany him to his home to molest the 10 year-old at a pool party that Hammond planned. Instead, when Hammond arrived at the designated meeting location, he was arrested by HSI and ICAC officers.
“Law enforcement takes very seriously the protection of the vulnerable among our communities,” said Matthew B. Millhollin, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations. “Due to the diligence and dedication of HSI’s special agents, and that of our ICAC partners, this predator is behind bars where he belongs.”
Hammond was convicted of attempting to persuade, entice, induce or coerce a minor to engage in illicit sexual activity.
At trial, the government presented evidence that in June 2017, Hammond communicated online and by telephone for several days with a person he believed to be the stepfather of a 10 year-old girl living in Warwick; in actuality, he was communicating with undercover officers of the Rhode Island Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). When Hammond was told that the man was sexually abusing his stepdaughter, he proposed joining in the abuse.
“As the jury heard, the evidence in this case was distressingly clear: this Defendant repeatedly, unequivocally, and enthusiastically sought to victimize the most vulnerable among us in the most vile ways imaginable,” said Cunha. “Today’s sentence should serve notice that this type of exploitation cannot, and will not, be tolerated in our communities.”
Colonel James M. Manni, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police and Director of the Department of Public Safety stated, “I commend the work of the members of the ICAC Unit, as well as Homeland Security Investigation, and their continued vigilance in identifying and apprehending these online predators. I would also like to extend my thanks to the United States Attorney’s Office for their continued efforts in combating those individuals seeking to exploit the children of our State.”
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