(STL.News) – Thomas Winkelbach, 79, of Cincinnati, pleaded guilty today to one count of sexual exploitation of a minor for taking sexually explicit photos of the victim.
According to court documents, Winkelbach used a digital camera to take sexually explicit pictures of his victim touching Winkelbach’s penis and other pictures of Winkelbach masturbating in front of the victim. The crime occurred in 2014 or 2015, but the exact date is unknown. The victim was between one- and two-years old.
Investigators say in court documents, that Winkelbach has been searching for, downloading and trading child pornography on the internet for years. Between all of his digital media seized by investigators in October 2019, Winkelbach possessed thousands of images of child pornography.
Sexual exploitation of children is punishable by at least 15 years and up to 30 years in prison. The court will determine an appropriate sentence based on federal sentencing guidelines, the defendant’s acceptance of responsibility and other factors. The plea agreement also calls for Winkelbach to pay restitution to the victim’s family and forfeit all images as well as ten cameras, three cell phones, eight computing devices and storage media used to store and share the images.
Winkelbach remains in custody until sentencing.
The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office and Cincinnati Police Department’s Regional Electronics Computer Investigations (RECI) Task Force investigated this case.
David M. DeVillers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Chris Hoffman, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division; Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil; and Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot K. Isaac announced the plea entered before U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett. Assistant United States Attorney Kyle J. Healey is representing the United States in this case.