BALTIMORE — On June 4, a federal grand jury indicted a Baltimore City Police Department Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) officer on charges of obstruction of justice, production of child pornography, and possession of child pornography.
Donald Hildebrandt, 51, was arrested last fall after law enforcement received a report that Hildebrandt had been found exposing his erect penis to a minor girl, according to court documents. The indictment also alleges that Hildebrandt, a 15-year veteran of the force, had placed a hidden camera in a bathroom that he knew was used by three female minors. The indictment alleged that the camera was positioned to capture the minors as they exited the bathroom’s shower and were toweling off.
Hildebrandt was also alleged to possess nude images of two prepubescent girls as well as at least two videos containing child pornography, one of which was at least two and a half hours long. The videos allegedly contained a compilation of numerous instances of a child being sexually abused.
Prosecutors also levied a charge of obstruction of justice against Hildebrandt. After a witness informed investigators in January 2021 that Hildebrandt had wiped his personal tablet, a forensic examination of the tablet returned results indicating the tablet had undergone a factory reset. Investigators also examined Hildebrandt’s personal iCloud account and discovered a link to a website where individuals can anonymously purchase child pornography.
Department of Justice press releases note that an indictment is not a finding of guilt and that Hildebrandt will be presumed innocent unless he is found guilty at trial.
The federal charges against Hildebrandt were announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner; Special Agent in Charge James R. Mancuso of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore; Colonel Woodrow W. Jones III, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey R. Gahler; Lieutenant Paul Marziale of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office; Sergeant Dave Betz of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, Director of the Harford County Child Advocacy Center; and Harford County State’s Attorney Albert J. Peisinger, Jr.
If he is convicted, Hildebrandt could face between 15-60 years in prison, as the production of child pornography charge carries a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum sentence of 30 years. The possession of child pornography and obstruction of justice charges carry a maximum of 10 and 20 years, respectively.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc. For more information about Internet safety education, please visitwww.justice.gov/psc and click on the “Resources” tab on the left of the page.