Daniel Jason Huntsinger 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 Missoula on March 5, 2009, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah C. Lynch, DANIEL JASON HUNTSINGER, a 38-year-old former police officer and resident of Missoula, pled guilty to receipt of obscene material. Sentencing is set for June 12, 2009. He is currently released on special conditions.
In an Offer of Proof filed by the United States, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
In April of 2006, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) began an investigation into commercial websites that were offering pay subscriptions to pornography and erotica depicting persons under the age of eighteen years. HUNTSINGER was among those who purchased access to a site during December of 2006. HUNTSINGER used his Sears Mastercard, a Pay-Pal account, his e-mail address, and a neighbor's unsecured wireless Internet service to make a purchase in the amount of $79.95 to a website entitled "Lolitas on Holiday" and "LOH Collection." HUNTSINGER used a box number assigned to the federal law enforcement taskforce to which he was detailed at the time for the address on the Mastercard. He used a computer belonging to the Missoula Police Protective Association, of which he was then president, to access the site.
Based upon the credit card purchase of access to the site, ICE applied for and obtained a search warrant on September 10, 2007, and law enforcement agents served the search warrant on September 12, 2007. Seized was a computer belonging to the Missoula Police Protective Organization which HUNTSINGER had been using. The computer was sent for forensic examination.
Forensic examination of the computer revealed that HUNTSINGER had used the computer to access the purchase site, as well as used the computer to search the Internet for various other types of images. Some of the images found were obscene, in that they were images of persons under the age of 18 years engaged in sexually explicit conduct by a lascivious exhibition of their genital areas. The images had been received via an interactive computer service and HUNTSINGER'S assigned computer. HUNTSINGER had also visited other pornography websites involving persons under the age of 18 years as evidenced by the Internet banners located on the computer.
United States Attorney Bill Mercer said: "The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Montana, working with our partners statewide in federal, state, and local law enforcement as part of Project Safe Childhood, will continue to aggressively prosecute those that possess images that were created through the exploitation of one of our most vulnerable populations -- kids."
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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
HUNTSINGER faces possible penalties of 5 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and 3 years supervised release.
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.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.