OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
MATT J. WHITWORTH
Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106
OCTOBER 27, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PROJECT SAFE CHILDHOOD
ST. JOSEPH MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO DISTRIBUTING
CHILD PORN OVER THE INTERNET
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Matt J. Whitworth, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a St. Joseph, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to distributing child pornography over the Internet.
Daren L. Holcomb, 48, of St. Joseph, waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs this afternoon to the charge contained in a federal information.
Holcomb admitted that he used the peer-to-peer file-sharing software Kazaa to search for and download files of child pornography. The files located in the shared folder on Holcomb’s computer were therefore available for other Kazaa users to download. An undercover law enforcement officer in Maine used Kazaa to download an image of child pornography from Holcomb’s computer.
An analysis of Holcomb’s computer by the Heart of America Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory found at least two child pornography images and two child pornography videos. The analysis also confirmed that Kazaa was loaded on the computer. Kazaa maintains a database of the files previously saved, which were later deleted from the program. This database revealed approximately 9,000 deleted files, hundreds of which were known images of child pornography. The hard drive also contained hundreds of Web sites with titles suggesting they contained child pornography, as well as e-mails that indicated Holcomb purchased a subscription to a child pornography Web site.
By pleading guilty today, Holcomb also agreed to forfeit to the government two computers that were used to commit the offense.
Under federal statutes, Holcomb is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of 20 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
Project Safe Childhood
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.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Beth Phillps. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at