[Techtaffy Newsdesk]

A former employee of a government contractor pleaded guilty to a child exploitation charge under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA). Keith Strimple, 57, of Tulsa, Okla., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Gregory Frizzell in the Northern District of Oklahoma to one count of attempted possession of a visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

According to court documents and proceedings, Mr. Strimple worked as an employee of a government contractor between April and September 2007 at a U.S. military facility at Camp Fallujah, Iraq. During that time period, Mr. Strimple admitted that he searched for and downloaded videos of minors that he believed to be as young as 12 years old engaging in sexually explicit conduct and downloaded such images using the contractor’s computer system. At sentencing, scheduled for April 11, 2012, Mr. Strimple faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

MEJA gives U.S. courts jurisdiction to prosecute crimes committed outside the United States by, among others, employees of a government contractor whose work supports a military mission.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as to identify and rescue victims.

The case was investigated by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and CEOS’ High Tech Investigations Unit, with assistance from the FBI in Tulsa.