United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner
Eastern District of California
Two Indictments Against Fresno County Men for Child pornography
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||
CONTACT: Lauren Horwood
August 1, 2011
PHONE: (916) 554-2706
FRESNO, Calif. — United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that a grand jury returned two separate indictments charging two Fresno County men with receiving and sharing child pornography.
Joshua B. Werner, 26, of Fresno, (Docket #: 1:11-cr-247 LJO) was charged on July 28, 2011 with one count of receiving and sharing images of child pornography. According to the indictment, between March and May 2011, Werner used the Internet to send and receive images of child pornography.
On July 21, 2011, John Whitley Richards, 40, of Clovis, was indicted on separate counts of receiving and sharing images of child pornography. Richards allegedly used the Internet to send and receive images of child pornography from August 2008 through June 2011.
Each charge in each of these cases carries a mandatory prison term of between 5 and 20 years, a potential fine of $250,000, and a potential lifetime term of supervised release.
"ICE Homeland Security Investigations is working closely with local law enforcement to target individuals who are using the Internet to engage in child pornography crimes,"said Paul Leonardi, resident agent in charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Fresno. "The reality is, every time sexually explicit images of minors are downloaded, the children in them are victimized again."
If convicted of the charges, the defendants face a mandatory prison term of five to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and a lifetime term of supervised release. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory sentencing factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
These cases are the result of an extensive investigation by the San Joaquin Valley's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force that includes the Fresno office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Fresno County Sheriff's Office. Assistant United States Attorney Brian W. Enos is prosecuting both cases.
These cases are brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC mobilizes federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information, visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov or call the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of California and ask to speak with the PSC coordinator.
Charges in an indictment are only allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
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