Former Airman Sentenced to 6 Years in Prison for Distributing Child Pornography
Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge George L. Russell III sentenced Craig Allen James, age 24, of Laurel, Maryland, today to six years in prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release, for distributing child pornography. Judge Russell ordered that upon his release from prison, James must register as a sex offender in the place where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Brigadier General Kevin J. Jacobsen, Commander Air Force Office of Special Investigations; and Colonel Marcus L. Brown, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police.
According to James’ plea agreement, until May 11, 2012, he was an active duty enlisted member of the U.S. Air Force assigned to Ft. Meade, where he resided at the time. On May 3, 2011, Maryland State Police was conducting and undercover investigation to identify people possessing and sharing child pornography using file sharing programs that allow individuals to receive and make available to others, files on their computer. During the investigation, an undercover officer identified James as using such a program and downloaded 23 files, images and videos, all of which depicted children, including prepubescent children, engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
On July 14, 2011, a search was executed at James’ dormitory room on Ft. Meade, and on his computers and other digital media. Investigators discovered at least two of the files downloaded by the undercover officer on James’ personal computer as well as other images of child pornography. James admitted that he received and shared child pornography via the internet.
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, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the "resources" tab on the left of the page.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended HSI Baltimore, Air Force Office of Special Investigations, and the Maryland State Police for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney P. Michael Cunningham, who prosecuted the case.