Homedale Man Pleads Guilty to Possessing Sexually Explicit Images of Minors
BOISE – David Jay Wheeler, 70, of Homedale, Idaho, formerly of Declo, Idaho, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Boise to possession of sexually explicit images of minors, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced.
According to the plea agreement, members of the Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force received information that between at least September 2011 and April 4, 2012, Wheeler had regularly used peer-to-peer file sharing software on his computer to access child pornography. A search warrant was executed at his home in Declo, which resulted in the seizure of a computer and computer storage media that contained sexually explicit images and videos of minors as young as four years of age. Court records state that Wheeler was sitting at a desktop computer and was in the process of downloading child pornography videos at the time the investigators executed the search warrant.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reviewed the child pornography seized from Wheeler and reported that the material had been produced depicting child sexual abuse victims from Idaho, Washington, Montana, Colorado, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Nevada, Hawaii, California, Illinois, Delaware, Georgia, Florida, New Hampshire, New Jersey, the Netherlands, France, United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Ukraine, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Norway, Austria, and Brazil.
The charge of possessing sexually explicit images of minors carries a maximum punishment of up to ten years in prison, a fine up to $250,000, and a minimum term of five years up to lifetime supervised release.
Wheeler is set for sentencing on April 9, 2013, before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill at the federal courthouse in Boise.
The case was investigated by officers from the Boise Police Department, assisted by agents and investigators from the Idaho Attorney General's Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Idaho State Police, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), all members of the ICAC Task Force.
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, visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.” For more information about registered sex offenders in Idaho, visit www.isp.idaho.gov/sor_id/.
Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is a collaborative effort by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and communities to prevent and deter gun violence.