FORMER EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION STUDENT SENTENCED TO 60 MONTHS IMPRISONMENT ON CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGES
BOSTON – A former Bridgewater State College early childhood education student was sentenced today in U.S. District Court on child pornography charges.
Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division Lanny A. Breuer and United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz announced that JOHNNY PIRES, 24, formerly of Middleboro was sentenced to sixty months’ imprisonment, the statutory mandatory minimum sentence, with five years of supervised release to follow, by U.S. District Judge Rya W. Zobel. PIRES was convicted by a federal jury of one count of attempting to receive child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography, following a four-day trial last summer. PIRES was acquitted on one count of attempted receipt of child pornography.
According to evidence presented during the trial, the case arose as the result of an FBI undercover operation that targeted individuals using file sharing programs to trade child pornography. PIRES shared images of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct through a file share program that allows users to exchange image and video files for free, called Limewire.
During the course of the investigation, a federal agent downloaded images from PIRES and was able to access PIRES’ shared folder, which stored numerous images of child pornography depicting pre-pubescent children engaged in various sexual acts. Based on this information, a search warrant was executed at PIRES’ residence, and PIRES confessed to accessing child pornography through file share programs and downloading images of the sexual abuse of children. At trial, PIRES disputed the confession, claiming he did not intend to download or share child pornography. A hard drive seized from PIRES’ residence revealed numerous images of child pornography, all of which appeared to have been downloaded using Limewire.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of online sexual exploitation of children, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Kanwit for the District of Massachusetts and Trial Attorney LisaMarie Freitas of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section.