News and Press Releases

Joseph Emory Anthony Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings on September 16, 2009, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, JOSEPH EMORY ANTHONY, a 38-year-old resident of Laurel, pled guilty to possession of child pornography. Sentencing is set for December 17, 2009. He is currently detained.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcia K. Hurd, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

Federal law enforcement agents undertook a nationwide investigation into persons purchasing access to subscription child pornography websites via the Internet. ANTHONY was a purchaser of several child pornography sites, using credit cards in his name but with fictitious addresses. Several law enforcement officers went to ANTHONY'S residence in February of 2008 and spoke with him. ANTHONY denied accessing child pornography sites and denied having a computer.

Further investigation revealed that in fact, ANTHONY did have a computer that was loaned to him by his sister in Nevada. ANTHONY was accessing his neighbor's wireless Internet connection in Laurel to subscribe to child pornography websites. After the visit by law enforcement, ANTHONY sent the computer back to his sister. She found child pornography images on the computer and her husband wiped that computer. ANTHONY also visited his sister and used her credit card and computer to access child pornography websites in Nevada.

ANTHONY'S work computer was also tracked accessing sites. With the consent of ANTHONY'S employer, his work computer was imaged and child pornography found.

On October 6, 2008, when interviewed, ANTHONY admitted that he had had an interest in child pornography for the past two years and that he had accessed child pornography via the Internet.

In December of 1997, ANTHONY had been convicted in Bozeman of sexual assault of a 14-year-old boy. ANTHONY, a Level 2 registered sex offender, received a 70 year sentence, with 40 years suspended, and was subsequently released from Montana State Prison in August 2005. After his release, ANTHONY had been under the supervision of the Montana Department of Corrections, Adult Probation and Parole Bureau. He was living in Laurel and on supervision at the time of the child pornography offenses.

ANTHONY faces possible penalties of a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and could be sentenced to 20 years, a $250,000 fine and lifetime supervision.

The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.



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