U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Daryl E. Vonneida, 62, of Dix, N.Y., was convicted by a federal jury of 14 charges, including production of child pornography, transporting minors in interstate commerce for illegal sexual activity and possession of child pornography. The defendant, who was previously convicted of sexual abuse in the First Degree in Schuyler County Court, faces a mandatory term of life in prison on four of the charges relating to the production of child pornography and transporting minors in interstate commerce.
Daryl E. Vonneida
U.S. Attorneys Marisa J. Miller and Tiffany H. Lee, who handled the prosecution of the case at trial, stated that the defendant was charged after two minor children came forward with allegations of abuse by Vonneida. Members of the New York State Police and Federal Bureau of Investigation executed a search warrant at the defendant's residence in September 2011 and recovered videos produced by Vonneida in which he coerced four children to engage in sexually explicit conduct. The defendant admitted to producing the videos and to taking the children to Hershey Park, PA and Splash Lagoon in Erie, PA.
Evidence presented by the Government at trial showed that the defendant used his position as a volunteer photographer at a church in Horseheads to gain the trust of the parents and the victims.
"This case serves as an important reminder to parents and guardians of children," said U.S. Attorney Hochul. "As the actions of this defendant demonstrate, child predators can be of any age, and include persons who work to gain the trust of parents and the child. Predators like the defendant are manipulative, resourceful, and can appear kind and generous – such as volunteering to take the child on overnight trips to amusement parks. In order to protect those most vulnerable in our society – our children – parents are reminded to speak often to their children in age specific terms. Topics should include appropriate conduct and permissible physical contact with adults, immediately speaking to the parent about any interaction with an adult which the child believed was inappropriate or 'creepy,' and knowing common lures used by predators to entice their child."
For more information, the public is encouraged to visit the following websites, which contain helpful information about protecting children from exploitation and abduction:
NY Sex Offender Registry
DOJ National Sex Offender Public Website
What you can do to protect your child (NCJRS)
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Department of Justice
OJJDP Publications—Child Protection
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)
NCMEC’s website to teach children about dangers on the Internet
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Crime Against Children Program webpage
The conviction is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Christopher M. Piehota, and by Investigators with the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Mark Koss.
Sentencing is scheduled for May 13th, 2013 before U.S. District Judge Charles J. Siragusa.