News and Press Releases

James Winn Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Friday, January 16, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Missoula, on January 15, 2009, before U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy, JAMES WINN, a resident of Butte, appeared for sentencing. WINN was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 200 months
  • Special Assessment: $100
  • Forfeiture: computer equipment
  • Supervised Release: life

WINN was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to receipt of child pornography.

In an Offer of Proof filed by the United States, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

Agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) were investigating allegations of child pornography access by users utilizing the peer-to-peer file sharing network. One investigation involved a person in Butte who had child pornography available via a file sharing program beginning in early 2007. ICE agents tracked the computer IP address to a residence in Butte. The agents executed a search warrant on that residence on April 17, 2007.

WINN was one of the individuals living at the residence. Agents seized a computer used by WINN that belonged to the owner of the residence. A subsequent forensic examination revealed numerous items of child pornography that WINN had received via the Internet during 2006 and 2007 and continued to possess until the service of the warrant. WINN possessed a number of movies and some images, including children clearly prepubescent and children engaged in sadistic or masochistic abuse or other depictions of violence.

When questioned, WINN admitted that he had searched the Internet for child pornography using file sharing programs. WINN admitted that it was easy to find movies of child pornography and that once downloaded, he would sort them and move them to various picture and video files.

WINN had a prior conviction in 1993 for felony sexual assault that involved a minor out of Butte-Silverbow County. He is a registered sexual offender in the State of Montana.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that WINN will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, WINN does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcia K. Hurd prosecuted the case for the United States.

The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, the Department of Justice launched Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices, 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 identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit



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