WASHINGTON – Kenneth Miller, 43, pleaded guilty today to numerous child exploitation offenses and was sentenced to 400 months in prison, Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Timothy Morrison and U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Charles R. Gross announced. In addition, U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker ordered Miller to serve a life term of supervised release and forfeit all of the computer equipment and pornography involved in his crimes.
In his guilty plea, Miller, formerly of Iron River, Mich., admitted to crimes committed in both the Southern District of Indiana and the Western District of Michigan. The case against Miller was developed following a 2006 undercover Australian law enforcement investigation into Jerry A. Browder, a Batesville, Ind., man who was suspected of trafficking child pornography. Browder -- who has since pleaded guilty in the Southern District of Indiana and been sentenced to 292 months for distributing, receiving and possessing child pornography over the Internet -- used the software technology Google Hello to communicate with others who shared his illicit interest.
According to information presented in court, after Browder transmitted numerous child pornography images to Australian investigators in July 2006, the Indiana State Police and FBI obtained a federal warrant to search the computer Browder was using in a residence near Batesville. As the investigation into Browder’s online activities continued, authorities also focused their attention on Miller, after learning that Browder traded child sex abuse images with Miller numerous times. A search warrant was executed at Miller’s home in Iron River and he was indicted in the Southern District of Indiana in July 2007 on 24 counts of transporting child pornography and 12 counts of receiving of child pornography. These charges related to his use of Google Hello to trade images on the Internet which depicted the sexual abuse of children. Forensic examination of Miller’s computer and hard drive revealed that he possessed more than 5,000 images of child pornography, including sexually-explicit images showing the bondage and torture of children, some as young as two years old.
While Miller’s case was being investigated, police in Michigan determined that Miller, while living in Iron River, also used a hidden camera to produce pornographic images of a minor girl whom he secretly filmed. Miller was charged separately for these crimes in the Western District of Michigan in January 2008, and the charges were subsequently transferred to the Southern District of Indiana to be jointly prosecuted with the child pornography trafficking charges that were already pending. In his plea agreement, Miller pleaded guilty to all charged counts, which include 24 counts of transporting child pornography, 12 counts of receiving child pornography and one count of producing child pornography.
This case emerged out of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
Miller’s case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven DeBrota for the Southern District of Indiana and Trial Attorney LisaMarie Freitas of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section. The proceedings in the Western District of Michigan were handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Lochner. The investigation was handled by the FBI, the Michigan State Police and the Indiana State Police.