A man arrested by U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents on 8 May this year following an INTERPOL worldwide public appeal for help in identifying a suspected paedophile has pleaded guilty in a New Jersey court to sexually abusing boys as young as 6 years old in Thailand.
Wayne Nelson Corliss, 59, pleaded guilty to five charges, including the production and possession of images depicting the sexual abuse of children and travelling to foreign countries to engage in illegal sexual activities.
His arrest came within 48 hours of INTERPOL’s Operation IDent, a rare public plea from the world’s largest police organization for help identifying a man seen in child sexual abuse images seized in Norway. Once the request was made, independent tips sent via the Internet to INTERPOL headquarters in Lyon, France, in the first 24 hours from three individuals living in the United States helped authorities find Corliss in his apartment in Union City, New Jersey.
“Operation IDent proves that keeping children safe from sexual predators at home is best achieved by ensuring that strong local, national and international police institutions co-operate across all borders,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble.
“I again congratulate law enforcement authorities in all our 187 member countries who were involved in this operation, but especially Norway for providing us with the legal basis to launch this global appeal, and U.S. agents on the ground and the U.S. National Central Bureau.”
“It is clear though that without the vital help of the public and the media we would not have been able to identify, locate, and arrest the target of this operation who has now pleaded guilty,” added Secretary General Noble.
During the hearing, Corliss admitted travelling to Thailand each year from 2000 to 2002 with the intention of sexually abusing children, that he paid for access to children, brought items to facilitate their sexual abuse and that he sexually abused children. He further admitted to sexually abusing children in 2002 in Thailand for the purpose of photographing and videotaping their abuse, and to storing and possessing images depicting the sexual abuse of children on his home computers at the time of his arrest in 2008.
He will remain in custody pending his sentencing on 9 February, 2009, when he will face a mandatory minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 75 years in prison.
Operation IDent was INTERPOL’s second public appeal to identify a suspected child predator. Operation VICO in October of last year led to the arrest in Thailand of Christopher Paul NEIL. Following the success of that operation, INTERPOL’s General Assembly in 2007 approved a resolution empowering the organization to publish information to request the public’s assistance in child sex abuse investigations.