Man Sentenced to More than 17 Years in Prison for Traveling to the Dominican Republic to Engage in Sex Acts with Minors
Theodore William Symonds, 51, was sentenced yesterday by United States District Judge Robert N. Scola to more than 17 years in prison and 30 years of supervised release, after previously pleading guilty to traveling to the Dominican Republic for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with minors.
Benjamin G. Greenberg, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Mark Selby, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Miami Field Office, made the announcement.
Symonds, a U.S. citizen, frequently traveled between the United States and the Dominican Republic, including on March 20, 2017. Symonds was arrested on March 23, 2017, by local Dominican authorities for crimes related to the sexual abuse of children. ICE-HSI began investigating him shortly thereafter and uncovered proof of Symonds’ sexual abuse of children, both in person and using the internet.
U.S. Attorney Benjamin Greenberg said, “The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners stand united against child exploitation and abuse. There is no immunity for these heinous crimes, whether committed at home or abroad. Any individual who victimizes the most vulnerable members of society, our children, can look to today’s sentencing to see there will be severe consequences within the U.S. federal criminal justice system.”
“This sentence should send a powerful message to child predators who believe that they can evade law enforcement by using international travel to engage in this type of reprehensible behavior,” said Mark Selby, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Miami. “Sexual exploitation of children is a despicable crime that will never be tolerated. HSI will continue to work closely with its law enforcement partners around the world so that sexual predators are always brought to justice.”
Mr. Greenberg commends the investigative efforts of ICE-HSI in support of this matter. Mr. Greenberg also thanked the local prosecutors and law enforcement officers in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, as well as members of the HSI Dominican Republic Transnational Criminal Investigative Unit (TCIU), for their assistance. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jonathan Kobrinski and Daniel Cervantes.