News

Bowie Man Pleads Guilty to Possessing and Distributing Child Pornography

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 14, 2011

Greenbelt, Maryland - John Shutt, age 65, of Bowie, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to possessing and distributing child pornography.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations.

According to the plea agreement, on February 7 and 8, 2010, an individual using a specific screen name, later identified as Shutt, distributed images depicting children engaged in sexually explicit conduct to an illegal website where users could distribute and download child pornography.

Following his identification, a search warrant was executed at Shutt’s residence on September 17, 2010, and computers and other digital media were seized. Subsequent forensic examination of the computers and hard drives revealed approximately 1,483 images and 32 videos of child pornography. During the search, Shutt admitted that he had downloaded and possessed child pornography for over 15 years and also traded images with others he met online.

As part of his plea agreement, Shutt 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).

Shutt faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for distribution of child pornography and a maximum of 10 years in prison for possession of child pornography, followed by up to lifetime of supervised release. U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams, Jr., has scheduled sentencing for September 29, 2011 at 9:30 a.m.

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. Details about Maryland’s program are available at www.justice.gov/usao/md/Safe-Childhood/index.html.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended ICE - Homeland Security Investigations for its work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Special Assistant U.S. Attorney LisaMarie Freitas, assigned from the Department of Justice Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, who prosecuted the case.

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