News and Press Releases

News and Press Releases

Albert Lea man pleads guilty to receiving and possessing child pornography

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 18, 2012


MINNEAPOLIS—Earlier today in federal court, a 33-year-old Albert Lea man pleaded guilty to possessing approximately 5,700 images of child pornography as well as receiving a video containing similar material. Jesse Jeff Stewart pleaded guilty to one count of receipt of child pornography. Stewart, who was indicted on January 10, 2012, entered his plea before United States District Court Judge David S. Doty.

In his plea agreement, Stewart admitted that on October 8, 2007, he received, via a peer-to-peer
file sharing program, a video that contained images of a minor engaged in sexually explicit
conduct. In addition, Stewart admitted that on December 2, 2009, he possessed at least 5,700
images and approximately 370 videos of child pornography. These items included minors under
the age of 12 and featured sadistic or masochistic conduct. On that date, authorities executed a
search warrant at Stewart’s residence, where the items were 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.

For his crime, Stewart faces a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, with a
mandatory minimum penalty of five years. Judge Doty will determine his sentence at a future
hearing.

This case is the result of an investigation by the U.S. 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.

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