WASHINGTON – A Silver Spring, Md., man pleaded guilty today to transporting child pornography and destruction of records in a federal investigation.
The guilty plea was announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Postal Inspector in Charge Daniel S. Cortez of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service - Washington Division; and Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI).
According to his plea agreement, from approximately December 2006 through August 2008, Terry Lee Nolley, 47, and others conspired to operate “Country Lounge,” a secure web-based bulletin board dedicated to trading images of child pornography. Members were allowed to join this group only upon invitation and after approval by the group’s administrators. As of August 2008, approximately 142 members belonged to Country Lounge.
From December 2006 through July 2008, Nolley was a Web host of Country Lounge and as such, conspired to transport child pornography through servers located in Virginia and maintained by him in Silver Spring. After July 2008, Nolley transferred his web-hosting responsibilities to other co-conspirators, but continued to both view and trade images of child pornography. In October 2008, Country Lounge was seized by law enforcement authorities.
On Nov. 10, 2009, federal agents interviewed Nolley and instructed him not to remove anything from his residence. Later that day, agents executed at search warrant at Nolley’s home and recovered several electronic devices. Nolley admitted that between the interview and the execution of the search warrant, he disposed of four additional hard drives believed to contain child pornography. Specifically, Nolley admitted that he left his home with the four hard drives and after taking steps to evade law enforcement, threw the hard drives into woods at the side of the road, in an effort to impede the federal investigation.
As part of his plea agreement, Nolley must register as a sex offender in the place where he resides, where he is an employee and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).
Nolley faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum of 20 years in prison, followed by up to a lifetime of supervised release for transportation of child pornography. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for destruction of records in a federal investigation. U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams Jr. scheduled sentencing for Jan. 25, 2012, at 10:30 a.m.
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 Criminal Division’s 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 via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov. Details about Maryland’s program are available at www.justice.gov/usao/md/Safe-Childhood/index.html .
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacy Belf and CEOS Trial Attorney LisaMarie Freitas, with assistance from CEOS Trial Attorneys Darcy Katzin and Jennifer Toritto Leonardo. The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, ICE-HSI and the NASA Office of Inspector General. The Allegany County, Md., Combined Criminal Investigations Unit (C3I) also provided assistance in this investigation and prosecution.