News and Press Releases


January 3, 2011

GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA - Stephen Todd Nelson, age 44, of Gainesville, Florida, was sentenced today to serve 240 months in federal prison, followed by a lifetime on supervised release for the receipt and distribution of child pornography. Evidence introduced at Nelson’s plea and sentencing established that between May 30, 2010, and July 21, 2010, Nelson used specialized file sharing software to receive and distribute child pornography over the Internet. A federal search warrant was executed at Nelson’s residence in Gainesville, Florida, on July 21, 2010. Evidence obtained pursuant to the search warrant proved that Nelson possessed a large number of computers containing images and videos of child pornography. The images in Nelson’s possession included prepubescent children engaged in sexual acts and the sadistic and masochistic sexual abuse of children. As a result of this investigation, law enforcement identified and rescued a child who had been sexually exploited by Nelson.

“The sentence imposed on Mr. Nelson today sends a powerful and clear message that these crimes exploiting and victimizing children will be taken very seriously by the Department of Justice," stated U.S. Attorney Pamela Marsh. “The children in these images are real children, real human beings, whose lives are dramatically changed forever by these criminal acts. I commend law enforcement for their efforts that very literally saved an innocent child from further exploitation.” Ms. Marsh praised the work of the North Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the Gainesville Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, whose joint investigation led to Nelson’s conviction and sentence. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Frank Williams.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched by the Department of Justice in May 2006, 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, Project Safe Childhood marshals 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 about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

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