Denise Marsh Carlson 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 Great Falls, on September 21, 2009, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, DENISE MARSH CARLSON, a 47-year-old resident of Plentywood, appeared for sentencing. CARLSON was sentenced to a term of:
- Prison: 98 months
- Special Assessment: $100
- Restitution: to be determined
- Supervised Release: life time
CARLSON was sentenced in connection with her 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:
Agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) were investigating allegations of child pornography access by users utilizing the peer-to-peer file sharing network. One investigation involved a person in Plentywood who had child pornography available to share via a file sharing program beginning in 2008. The computer IP address was tracked to the CARLSON residence in Plentywood.
In October of 2008, a search warrant was served on the CARLSON home. Agents spoke with CARLSON'S husband and minor children, all of whom reported that they did not use file sharing software. They reported that their mother, CARLSON, also had a computer and that she was working in Billings as a travel nurse. Agents in Billings went to the residence where CARLSON was residing and spoke with her. When questioned, CARLSON admitted that she used the peer-to-peer file sharing program Limewire to receive and possess hundreds of child pornography videos and images from approximately 1999 through the present.
Agents seized various computer equipment and subsequent forensic examination revealed hundreds of images and movies of child pornography that CARLSON had received via the Internet during 1999 through 2008 and continued to possess until the equipment was seized. CARLSON 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 CARLSON will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, CARLSON 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 conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
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/.