News and Press Releases

JEFFERSON COUNTY MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO DISTRIBUTING AND POSSESSING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 29, 2010

BIRMINGHAM – A 66-year-old Jefferson County man pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to distributing and possessing images of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and Col. Chris Murphy, director, Alabama Department of Public Safety.

WALTER D. SPRUILL entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins and acknowledged that, between May 20 and June 23, 2010, he used the Internet to distribute and possess child pornography.

“Anyone who distributes images of child pornography repeats the hurt those children suffer when the awful images are made, and perpetuates the vile industry that profits from the abuse and devastation of those children,” Vance said. “The community, and those who violate the law need to know that law enforcement is on the Internet working to stop such criminal activity and prosecute those engaging in it.”

According to his plea agreement, SPRUILL distributed the images to undercover police officers in Indiana and Illinois as follows: On June 23, 2010, he sent an image to an undercover officer in Indiana and told the officer that the child was his granddaughter and he was going to molest her that night. The police in Indiana immediately contacted law enforcement in Alabama who obtained and executed a search warrant at SPRUILL’s residence that same day. After additional investigation, police determined that the images of that young girl were not pictures of SPRUILL’s granddaughter. Police did not locate any such child at SPRUILL’s residence, but did find hundreds of images of child pornography on his computer.

SPRUILL’s sentencing is scheduled Jan. 13, 2011. SPRUILL faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for distribution of child pornography and 10 years for possession of child pornography.
           
The case was investigated by the Alabama Bureau of Investigation’s Cyber Crime Unit and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. In this case, the ICAC members were from the ABI and police departments in Wheaton, Ill., and Noblesville, Ind. Funded by a U.S. Department of Justice grant, ICAC members work to combat Internet-based child victimization by conducting online, undercover investigations and forensic analysis of computers seized in investigations.
           
Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel J. Fortune is prosecuting the case.

 

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