Department photo of Cheektowaga Police Detective Mike Hockwater. (CPD)

CHEEKTOWAGA – The Cheektowaga Police Department says a department detective should be commended for his hard work in getting a defendant to confess to a recent child pornography case involving a young Cheektowaga girl.

Detective Mike Hockwater, who is assigned to the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force, was the lead investigator in a federal case that found a Pennsylvania man communicating with a 12-year-old Cheektowaga girl and coercing her into sharing sexually explicit images of herself.  Investigators executed a search warrant and recovered the man’s computer.

Thomas A. Gillespie, 44, of East Brady, PA, was demanding to go to trial according to Assistant Chief of Police Jim Speyer, but when shown evidence found by Mr. Hockwater’s team during a forensic examination of his computer, he immediately pled guilty to the indictment.  Investigators recovered images of the minor victim, including one nude image.

The investigation took place over the last 2 1/2 years.

The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison, a maximum of 30 years, and a fine of $250,000.  Sentencing is scheduled for July 12, 2018, at 2:30 p.m. before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford.

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