HOMELESS MAN SENTENCED FOR RECEIPT OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY
A homeless man was sentenced in federal court on June 13, 2011, for Receipt of Child Pornography, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Thomas M. Smith, 28, formerly of Belleville, Ill.-, was sentenced to 90 months’ imprisonment, 20 years’ supervised release, fined $600 and ordered to pay a $100 special assessment.
The violation occurred on October 26, 2010, when a Southwestern Illinois College (“SWIC”) Public Safety Officer saw Smith viewing child pornography on a public computer in the school’s library. When the Public Safety Officer approached Smith, Smith tried to close the web page that he had been viewing, and also unplugged two MP3 players that were connected to the computer via USB cables. A forensic review of one of the MP3 players revealed approximately 165 images of child pornography. Some of the images involved minors under the age of 12, as well as minor females between the ages of four and seven years old being penetrated and sodomized by adult males. In addition, some of the images involved naked young minor females between the ages of five to 15 years old performing oral sex on a male while blindfolded.
In a voluntary statement to the SWIC officers, Smith admitted downloading the images described above from a pornographic website via the internet to one of his MP3 players. Smith stated that he could not control himself once he saw the images so he began downloading every image he could find, receiving them via the internet.
In a later interview with St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, Smith stated that he accessed a pornographic website for about 15 minutes in which time he downloaded a couple hundred photographs of young girls between the ages of 10 and 15 years old. Smith admitted accessing the library’s computer once or twice a week, and that all of the images of child pornography in his possession came from the library’s computer.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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 to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The case was investigated by the SWIC Department of Public Safety, the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Metro East Cyber Crimes and Analysis Task Force. The case was assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Angela Scott.