News and Press Releases

News and Press Releases

Albert Lea man sentenced for receiving and possessing child pornography

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 4, 2012


MINNEAPOLIS—Earlier today in federal court, a 33-year-old Albert Lea man was sentenced for possessing approximately 5,700 images of child pornography as well as receiving a video containing similar material. United States District Court Judge David S. Doty sentenced Jesse Jeff Stewart to 85 months in prison on one count of receipt of child pornography. Stewart, who was indicted on January 10, 2012, pleaded guilty on April 18, 2012.

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 their network, they contacted American authorities.

This case was the result of an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, and the German Federal Police. The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Colin P. Johnson.

Receiving child pornography is against the law. In addition to prosecuting these cases, the Justice Department is presently funding a study focused on the correlation between involvement in child pornography and 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.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), 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 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and identify and rescue victims. For more information about PSC, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/ For more information about internet safety education, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/resources.html and click on the tab “resources.”

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