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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Iowa

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Clear Lake Man Pleads Guilty To Possessing Child Pornography

A man who possessed child pornography pled guilty on April 1, 2013, in federal court in Cedar Rapids.

Brandon Phinney, age 27, from Clear Lake, Iowa, was convicted of one count of possession of child pornography.

At the plea hearing, Phinney admitted that, between September 2010 and April 2011, he possessed child pornography on a computer. In a plea agreement, Phinney admitted that he possessed over 1,000 images of child pornography and that he used the Internet to trade child pornography with others.

Sentencing before United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade will be set after a presentence report is prepared. Phinney was taken into custody by the United States Marshal after the guilty plea and will remain in custody pending sentencing. Phinney faces a possible maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, a $100 special assessment, and supervised release for 5 years to life following his imprisonment.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark Tremmel and was investigated by the Clear Lake Police Department, the Mason City Police Department, and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit For more information about Internet safety education, please visit and click on the tab “resources.”

Court file information is available at The case file number is CR 13-3005.

Updated February 19, 2015