Thurman Crosswhite Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings on January 6, 2009, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, THURMAN CROSSWHITE, a 37-year-old resident of Billings, pled guilty to receipt of child pornography. Sentencing is set for April 9, 2009. He is currently detained.
In an Offer of Proof filed by the United States, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents were investigating allegations of child pornography access by users utilizing peer-to-peer file sharing networks. One investigation involved a person in Billings who had child pornography available to share via a file sharing program beginning in 2006 and continuing through December 2007. Law enforcement tracked the computer IP address to CROSSWHITE'S residence in Billings.
On December 17, 2007, a search warrant was served on CROSSWHITE'S residence. CROSSWHITE agreed to talk to the agents and provided a written statement. He admitted to utilizing peer-to-peer software to obtain images of child pornography. He stated that he first began acquiring and viewing child pornography images in approximately 1994. He further stated that his previous computer, which he had sold to his sister-in-law, was also used to download child pornography images.
A forensic examination was done on CROSSWHITE'S computer. Numerous child pornography video files and hundreds of child pornography images were found. Other child pornography images were found on his old computer as well. The images included children under the age of 12 or prepubescent, as well as children engaged in sadistic or masochistic abuse or other depictions of violence.
CROSSWHITE faces possible penalties of mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison and could be sentenced to 20 years, a $250,000 fine and lifetime supervision.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcia K. Hurd prosecuted the case for the United States.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Billings Police Department.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.