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Two Springfield Men Sentenced For Trading Child Porn - Worldwide Internet ‘Chat Room’ Used to Trade Graphic Images

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 5, 2007

Springfield, Ill. – Two Springfield, Illinois men who traded thousands of graphic images of child pornography via a private international Internet ‘chat room’ were sentenced today. Billy Joe Bowser, age 34, was sentenced to the statutory maximum sentence of 20 years (240 months) in prison, as announced by Rodger A. Heaton, United States Attorney for the Central District of Illinois. Anthony Adams, age 49, was sentenced to 19½ years (236 months.) Bowser and Adams each pled guilty in October 2006 to receiving, possessing and transporting child pornography.

The charges were the result of an international investigation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation of Internet-based child pornography using a chat room known as “Kiddypics & Kiddyvids.” The chat room was hosted on the Internet through the WinMX software program that also allowed users to engage in “peer-to-peer” file sharing.

U.S. Attorney Heaton stated, “Trading or collecting images of child pornography is not a victimless crime. Each photo represents an assault on the innocence of an actual child. They are images of graphic physical and sexual abuse of real kids – in this case, some as young as toddlers. Anyone who seeks the perceived anonymity of the Internet to trade in images of these horrific crimes deserves the kind of lengthy sentences imposed here today.”

The investigation found that Bowser had more than 80,000 images of child pornography in his computer collection. These graphic images involved children younger than two years old engaged in sex with adult males as well as pornographic images of children reflecting violence and bondage. Bowser was charged in February 2006 with his wife, Melissa Bowser, age 27. Sentencing for Melissa Bowser is scheduled for March 23, 2007, at 11:00 a.m.

On Adams’ computer, investigators found more than 29,000 similar images of child pornography involving violence, bondage, and children under two years of age engaged in sexual acts with adult males.

U.S. Attorney Heaton commended the investigative work performed by the Springfield Computer Crimes Task Force, a multi-agency group dedicated to the investigation and prosecution of computer crime, and thanked First Assistant U.S. Attorney John Childress, who prosecuted the cases.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales launched Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys, 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. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

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