Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Massachusetts Man Convicted on Child Pornography Charges

Johnny Pires, 24, of Middleboro, Mass., was convicted today by a federal jury in Boston of attempting to receive child pornography and possessing child pornography.

Pires was indicted on two counts of attempting to receive child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography. Following a four-day trial before U.S. District Judge Rya W. Zobel, a jury today convicted Pires of the second count of attempting to receive child pornography, and of possessing child pornography.

According to evidence presented during the trial, the case arose from an FBI undercover operation that targeted individuals using file sharing programs to trade child pornography. Testimony from an undercover agent established that Pires was using Limewire, a file share program that allows users to exchange image and video files for free, to share images of child pornography. The agent testified that during his investigation, he downloaded images depicting children engaged in sexually explicit conduct from Pires and was able to access Pires’ shared folder. During the review of Pires’ shared folder, the agent discovered numerous images of child pornography depicting pre-pubescent children engaged in various sexual acts. Based on this information, a search warrant was executed at Pires’ residence, and Pires admitted to accessing child pornography through file share programs and downloading images of the sexual abuse of children. A forensic examiner testified that a hard drive seized from Pires’ residence revealed numerous images of child pornography, including those downloaded from Limewire.

At sentencing, Pires faces a minimum of five years in prison and up to 20 years. He will also face a lifetime term of supervised release following his prison sentence. Sentencing is scheduled for October 22, 2009.

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.

The case is being prosecuted jointly by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Kanwit for the District of Massachusetts and Trial Attorney LisaMarie Freitas of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section. The case was investigated by the FBI.

09-749