News and Press Releases

Michael Paul Topoll Iv Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings, on March 19, 2009, before Senior U.S. District Judge Charles C. Lovell, MICHAEL PAUL TOPOLL, IV, a 25-year-old resident of Helena, appeared for sentencing. TOPOLL was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 120 months
  • Special Assessment: $100
  • Forfeiture: computer equipment
  • Supervised Release: life

TOPOLL 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:

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were investigating allegations of child pornography access by users utilizing a peer-to-peer file sharing network. One investigation involved a person in Helena who had child pornography via a file sharing program available to share beginning in February 2008, and continuing through June 2008. The computer IP address was tracked to a residence in Helena.

Agents executed a search warrant on the residence on June 20, 2008. TOPOLL was at the residence when the agents arrived. When questioned, TOPOLL admitted that he used the peer-to-peer file sharing program and that he used the program to search for child pornography images. TOPOLL admitted that he sometimes received sexual gratification by viewing the child pornography images.

Agents seized various computer equipment. A subsequent forensic examination revealed images and movies of child pornography that TOPOLL had received via the Internet during 2008 and continued to possess until the service of the warrant. TOPOLL possessed images and movies of children clearly prepubescent and children engaged in sadistic or masochistic abuse or other depictions of violence.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that TOPOLL will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, TOPOLL 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, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation.



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