South Carolina Man Sentenced To 20 Years In Prison
For Distribution Of Child Pornography
AUGUSTA, GA: GEORGE RANDALL WARD, 60, of Lexington, South Carolina was sentenced by United States District Court Judge J. Randal Hall today to 20 years in prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release for the distribution of child pornography. WARD, who was remanded to U.S. Marshal custody following the hearing, is also required to register as a sex offender.
The evidence at WARD’s guilty plea and sentencing hearings showed that WARD used a file-sharing network to distribute over 700 images of child pornography to others over the Internet. He also engaged in online “chats” with an undercover officer in an effort to trade child pornography and arrange to meet a 14-year-old girl to engage in sexual activity.
United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver said, “This defendant distributed sexually explicit images of children and believed he was arranging to meet and have sex with a 14-year-old girl. This prosecution and lengthy prison sentence will protect other children from harm by this predator. It will also serve as a knock at the doors of other like-minded criminals, letting them know that they are next.”
The joint investigation that led to the charge was undertaken by the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, agencies making up the FBI’s Cyber Crimes Child Exploitation Task Force. WARD was arrested on September 28, 2011, after he arrived at a pre-arranged location with the intent to engage in sexual conduct with a person he believed to be a 14-year-old girl, but in fact was an undercover law enforcement officer. He pled guilty on February 14, 2012.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, which is a nationwide U.S. Department of Justice initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims.
Assistant United States Attorney Nancy Greenwood, Deputy Criminal Chief and Project Safe Childhood Coordinator, prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States. For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.