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Debra Wong Yang
United States Attorney
Central District of California


United States Courthouse
312 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, California 90012
Release No. 06-054

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PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 12, 2006
For Information, Contact Public Affairs
Thom Mrozek (213) 894-6947

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY MAN CONVICTED OF PRODUCING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY


Los Angeles, CA - A former custodian a Central Coast elementary school has been convicted of producing and possessing child pornography after investigators found more than 120,000 images, including nearly three dozen pictures of a 4-year-old girl who was the granddaughter of friends.

Shane Robert Ferguson, 34, of Atascadero, was found guilty late Thursday by a federal jury. Ferguson was convicted following a 2 1/2-day trial in United States District Court in Los Angeles.

The investigation into Ferguson started in July 2005, when the grandparents of the 4-year-old victim reported suspicions of child molestation to the Atascadero Police Department. After a search of Ferguson's apartment, investigators recovered a computer, computer media and videotapes. A computer forensic examination by the San Luis Obispo Sheriff's Department showed that the computer held more than 120,000 images of child pornography, including images of the 4-year old victim. During this week's trial, the jury saw a videotape in which Ferguson confessed to taking pictures of the girl.

When police searched his residence, Ferguson was working at Santa Margarita Elementary School in Atascadero.

This is the first case involving the production of child pornography to go to a jury trial in the Central District of California. "The jury's verdict is a vindication for this young victim and her family," said United States Attorney Debra Wong Yang. "It is also a vindication for the thousands of young victims, who are depicted in pictures and videos that are traded all over the world via the Internet."

Ferguson is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge J. Spencer Letts on July 13. At that time, Ferguson faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison, and he could be sentenced to as much as 40 years.

Local authorities in San Luis Obispo County are continuing to investigate Ferguson in relation to the 4-year-old girl.

This case was jointly investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Atascadero Police Department and the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department.

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Release No. 06-054

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