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Monte Vista man sentenced to nine years in federal prison for receipt of child pornography

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 8, 2013

DENVER – Timothy John Vanderwerff, age 65, of Monte Vista, Colorado, was recently sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge John L. Kane to serve 108 months (9 years) in federal prison for receipt of child pornography, U.S. Attorney John Walsh and FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Thomas Ravenelle announced.  Following his 9 year prison sentence, Vanderwerff was ordered by Judge Kane to serve a lifetime of supervised release.  The judge deferred making a decision on restitution.  A hearing regarding restitution will be scheduled at a later date.  Vanderwerff, who appeared at the hearing free on bond, was ordered to report to a Bureau of Prisons facility within 30 days of designation.

Vanderwerff was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on February 8, 2012.  He pled guilty to the receipt of child pornography on August 9, 2012.  He was sentenced on Monday, May 6, 2013.

According to the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, in October 2009, law enforcement officials were contact by the defendant’s sister-in-law.  She told law enforcement that the defendant’s wife had found thousands of images of child pornography on the defendant’s computer, as well as pictures of child pornography printed off the internet.  The wife also believed the defendant had an improper infatuation with an 11-year old neighbor.  After the initial call to law enforcement, officers and agents executed a state authorized search warrant.  They seized Vanderweff’s computer and the printed images of child pornography.  The defendant had obtained all of his child pornography from the internet. 

The computer and hard drive were submitted to the Rocky Mountain Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory for examination.  The forensic examination located more than 900 files containing images of child pornography on the computer.  There were approximately 292 files containing images of child pornography with prepubescent minors.  There were approximately 27 files containing images of child pornography involving sadistic or masochistic conduct.  There were 2 video files showing child pornography involving prepubescent minors.

The child pornography images were sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) for review by the Child Victim Identification Program (CVIP).  CVIP catalogues “known” child pornography images and “known” victims of child pornography, meaning those images have been previously identified by law enforcement.  CVIP discovered 87 known image files of child pornography on the computer. 

Simultaneous with the federal child pornography investigation, state law enforcement officers investigated allegations of improper sexual contact between the defendant and the 11-year old female neighbor.  The defendant plead guilty and was convicted of the state charge of Sexual Assault on a Child - Victim Less Than 15 (years of age) in Rio Grande County, Colorado.  The defendant received 90 days of jail followed by 10 years of sex offender specific probation.

“This case demonstrates the resources that law enforcement devotes to protecting children from exploitation,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.  “The FBI’s efforts, the Regional Forensic Lab, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children work in concert with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to ensure those involved in child pornography are held accountable for their illegal actions.”

“The sentence handed down represents the FBI’s dedication to pursuing those intent on harming children,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Thomas Ravenelle.  “The identification and apprehension of child predators roaming our communities is a priority for the FBI, and this case should serve as a deterrent to those who utilize the Internet to promote the victimization of children.”

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). 

Vanderwerff was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard Hosley and Judith Smith.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), 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, PSC 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 PSC, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/   For more information about Internet safety education, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/resources.html and click on the tab "resources."

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