Pinellas County Mechanic Sentenced To 17 ½ Years For Distributing Child Pornography
Tampa, Florida - U.S. District Judge Mary S. Scriven today sentenced Joshua Allen Taylor (29, St. Petersburg) to 210 months in federal prison for distribution of child pornography. The Court also ordered Taylor to serve a life-term of supervised release and to register as a sex offender. Taylor pleaded guilty on May 15, 2012.
According to court documents, in November of 2011, Taylor began chatting over the Internet with an individual about trading child pornography. Unbeknownst to Taylor, he was chatting with undercover law enforcement officer. Taylor sent the officer a video file depicting child pornography.
In January 2012, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)special agents executed a federal search warrant at Taylor's residence. Agents seized more than 5,000 images and videos of child pornography. Taylor admitted ownership of the illegal images and videos. The majority of Taylor's collection depicted images of infants and toddlers. Taylor advised that he looked at the images, saved them, and moved onto the next.
A forensic review of the evidence revealed that Taylor had been communicating, via the Internet, with a known producer of child pornography, as well as with many other individuals who collected and traded child pornography. The investigation revealed that Taylor had been collecting child pornography for over a decade.
“Child predators prey on the weak and use positions of trust to commit their crimes,” said Shane Folden, deputy special agent in charge of HSI Tampa. “HSI ensures that individuals like Taylor are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
This sentencing is part of Operation Holitna, an ongoing HSI-led investigation that originated in Boston. In 2010, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts and HSI Boston arrested Robert Diduca on child pornography production charges. He was convicted and subsequently sentenced in June 2012. Forensic analysis of Diduca's computer led investigators to the Netherlands where a Dutch national was arrested and charged with production, distribution and possession of child pornography, as well as the sexual abuse of 87 minors. To date, more than 150 children have been rescued and 46 perpetrators arrested worldwide, including Taylor, as a result of Operation Holitna.
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 www.usdoj.gov/psc for more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."
This case was investigated by ICE HSI. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stacie B. Harris.