Acting on tips sent in from national and state hotlines for crimes against children, Howard County police since July 2020 have charged eight adults and three juveniles with possessing and/or distributing child pornography.
Tips from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and Maryland Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) related to the possession and distribution of child pornography have led to more than a dozen investigations. Since July, Howard County police detectives assigned to the Howard County Child Advocacy Center have executed 23 residential search and seizure warrants and seized more than 160 digital devices.
In many of these cases, individuals are charged based upon evidence located during a search warrant. After a full forensic analysis of the evidence gathered, some of the individuals charged were found to be in possession of thousands of known and suspected child pornography images and videos.
As a result of these investigations, detectives have charged the following people:
• Taylor Richard Allen, 28, of Linden Linthicum Lane in Clarksville, indicted on 10 counts of possession of child pornography
• Nicholas David Gehringer, 30, of Sharp Road in Glenwood, indicted on nine counts of possession of child pornography
• Hayk Manukyan, 21, of Durant Avenue in Laurel, indicted on three counts of distributing child pornography and four counts of possession of child pornography
• Parker Greer Michael Matta, 19, of Boones Lane in Ellicott City, indicted on one count of possession of child pornography
• Saige Noel Penrod, 19, of Paul Martin Drive in Elkridge, indicted on five counts of possession of child pornography
• Anthony Joseph Ross, 31, of Bronze Bell Circle in Columbia, charged with five counts of possession of child pornography
• Tucker Nathaniel Testoff, 20, of Elko Drive in Ellicott City, pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of child pornography and sentenced to five years of probation
• Jawad Hyder Wagan, 33, of Tamar Drive in Columbia, indicted on four counts of possession of child pornography
• 14-year-old male of Laurel charged with one count of possession of child pornography
• 16-year-old male of Laurel charged with one count of possession of child pornography
• 17-year-old male of Glenelg charged with one count of possession of child pornography
“These cases are complex and require meticulous police work to identify suspects and collect evidence,” said Howard County Police Chief Lisa Myers. “I want to recognize our excellent team of detectives who have worked tirelessly to execute search warrants and have had to review thousands of disturbing images and videos to bring charges against these suspects.”
Maryland State Police reported that there was a 67 percent increase statewide in tips regarding online child sex exploitation in 2020 compared to 2019. In Howard County, that report showed there were 727 tips in 2020 compared to 196 in 2019.
Howard County detectives continue to investigate recent tips and more charges could follow pending forensic analysis. Detectives work closely with the State’s Attorney’s Office on charges and victim services.
“The sexual abuse of children that’s often portrayed in child pornography is one of the most unconscionable violations of trust imaginable,” said Howard County State’s Attorney Rich Gibson. “Prosecuting the perpetrators of these horrendous crimes is one of our highest priorities and we will work in tandem with our law enforcement partners to bring these criminals to justice.”
Detectives are reminding parents to encourage their children to be safe online, especially with increased internet usage during the pandemic. These resources address several issues related to online safety: https://www.missingkids.org/netsmartz/resources and https://www.netsmartzkids.org. You can send tips to the NCMEC here: https://www.missingkids.org/gethelpnow/cybertipline.