News and Press Releases

Robert Alan Cummings Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Helena, on March 17, 2009, before Senior U.S. District Judge Charles C. Lovell, ROBERT ALAN CUMMINGS, a 46-year-old resident of Helena, appeared for sentencing. CUMMINGS was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 60 months
  • Special Assessment: $100
  • Forfeiture: computer equipment
  • Supervised Release: 5 years

CUMMINGS 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:

On August 25, 2008, a Helena Police Detective received information that a Montana Department of Transportation (DOT) employee had potentially accessed child pornography via a state owned computer. The employee was identified as CUMMINGS.

A network software analyst had been alerted to a possible virus entering the DOT system and identified the user of the machine that received the incoming virus as CUMMINGS. When accessing CUMMINGS' directory, the analyst found and accessed an external device attached to the State owned computer and found images of child pornography. The hard drives were seized and a search warrant obtained.

A preliminary examination of the computer equipment found images of child pornography, including images of clearly prepubescent children, and children engaged in sadistic or masochistic abuse or other forms of violence.

When interviewed, CUMMINGS admitted that he had had an interest in child pornography for the past twenty years and that he had been accessing and storing child pornography via the Internet for the last ten years. CUMMINGS reported that the hard drive hooked to his State computer was his and that he had child pornography images on it. After CUMMINGS was placed on leave from DOT, he admitted that he returned home and deleted a folder off his home computer. CUMMINGS reported that he transferred all of his child pornography images from the CDs he had burned onto the external hard drive he owned. His preference was for children between the ages of 8 and 13.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that CUMMINGS will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, CUMMINGS 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 a cooperative effort between the Helena Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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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