WASHINGTON – A Jackson, Miss., computer systems administrator was found guilty late Thursday of receiving and possessing images of child pornography on his home computer, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Rita M. Glavin of the Criminal Division and Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi Stan Harris.
Following a four-day jury trial in Natchez, Miss., Joseph McNealy was found guilty of three counts of receiving child pornography through the Internet and one count of possessing child pornography. McNealy was charged in a second superseding indictment returned on Aug. 20, 2008. At the time of his arrest, McNealy was working as a computer systems administrator for a company that provided Internet, telecommunications and network services.
Testimony at trial established that the charges resulted from Operation Falcon, a law enforcement task force composed of agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Internal Revenue Service, the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. On Sept. 14, 2004, ICE agents searched McNealy’s home computer with his permission and uncovered evidence that he possessed child pornography and had received child pornography from Web sites and Internet newsgroups on or about Feb. 5, 2004, through on or about Sept. 14, 2004; on or about June 29, 2004; and on or about April 16, 2003, through on or about May 21, 2003.
Evidence presented at trial included child pornography images that had been saved to McNealy’s computers, as well as search terms he used relating to child pornography that were obtained from his Internet history records and Internet bookmarks. Finally, the prosecution presented records of Web sites associated with child pornography that had been visited by McNealy.
Following the verdict, McNealy was ordered to be detained by the U.S. Marshals Service without bond. His sentencing is scheduled for June 4, 2009, at 10:30 a.m. before U.S. District Court Judge David C. Bramlette, III. At sentencing, McNealy faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison, as well as a lifetime of supervised release. He may also face a possible fine.
The case was prosecuted by Barak Cohen of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) and Assistant U.S. Attorney Glenda R. Haynes of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Jackson. CEOS’ High-Tech Investigative Unit and ICE provided forensic analysis of McNealy’s computer. The charges were the result of an investigation by ICE.