Thurman Crosswhite Sentenced in U.S. District Cour
Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings, on April 9, 2009, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, THURMAN CROSSWHITE, a 37-year-old resident of Billings, appeared for sentencing. CROSSWHITE was sentenced to a term of:
- Prison: 97 months
- Special Assessment: $100
- Forfeiture: computer equipment
- Supervised Release: 10 years
CROSSWHITE 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 (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.
Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that CROSSWHITE will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, CROSSWHITE 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 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Billings Police Department.
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/.