News and Press Releases

News and Press Releases

Albert Lea man indicted for receiving and possessing child pornography

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 13, 2012


MINNEAPOLIS—A federal indictment unsealed earlier today charges a 33-year-old Albert
Lea man with possessing approximately 5,700 images of child pornography as well as receiving
a video containing similar material. The indictment charges Jesse Jeff Stewart with one count of
receipt of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. The indictment,
which was filed on January 10, 2012, was unsealed following Stewart’s initial appearance in
federal court.

The indictment alleges that on October 8, 2007, Stewart received, via a peer-to-peer file
sharing program, a video that contained images of a minor engaged in sexually explicit
conduct. The indictment also alleges that on December 2, 2009, Stewart possessed images and
videos containing similar conduct. On that date, authorities executed a search warrant at
Stewart’s residence, where the items were allegedly found on four computers and eight compact
discs.

This case arose out of information provided by the German federal police. At the time, they
were investigating a computer network that featured child pornography. Upon finding that
multiple Internet addresses in the U.S. had downloaded pornographic images from that
network, they contacted American authorities.

If convicted, Stewart faces a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, with a
mandatory minimum penalty of five years, for receipt of child pornography, and a potential
maximum of ten years in prison for possession of child pornography. All sentences will be
determined by a federal district court judge.

This case is the result of an investigation by the United States Immigration and Customs
Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, and the German Federal Police. It is being
prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Colin P. Johnson.

Presently, the Justice Department is funding a study concerning the correlation between
involvement in child pornography and the hands-on sexual abuse of children. A 2008 study
(The Butner Study) published in the Journal of Family Violence found that up to 80 percent of
federal inmates incarcerated for possession, receipt, or distribution of child pornography also
admitted to hands-on sexual abuse of children, ranging from touching to rape.

The U.S. Department of Justice is committed to combating the sexual exploitation of
children, particularly via the Internet. In Fiscal Year 2010, 2,235 defendants pleaded guilty to
federal child pornography charges, 2,222 of whom were sentenced to prison. In Fiscal Year
2009, 2,083 defendants were sentenced to prison on child pornography charges. For more
information about these efforts, please visit the Department’s Project Safe Childhood website,
at www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

An indictment is a determination by a grand jury that there is probable cause to believe that offenses have been committed by a defendant. A defendant, of course, is presumed innocent until he or she pleads guilty or is proven guilty at trial.

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