Joseph Edward Schieffer Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings on September 30, 2009, before Senior U.S. District Judge Jack D. Shanstrom, JOSEPH EDWARD SCHIEFFER, a 52-year-old resident of Sidney, pled guilty to receipt of child pornography. Sentencing is set for December 30, 2009. He is currently released on special conditions.
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:
Agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement were investigating allegations of child pornography access by users utilizing the peer-to-peer file sharing network.
In 2008, one investigation was tracked to SCHIEFFER'S computer IP address at his residence in Sidney. A search warrant was served on SCHIEFFER at his residence on July 3, 2008.
SCHIEFFER was at the residence when the agents arrived. Agents informed SCHIEFFER they were there about child pornography, to which SCHIEFFER replied, "I've got that!" When questioned, SCHIEFFER admitted that he used the peer-to-peer file sharing program Limewire to receive and possess hundreds of child pornography videos and images. He reported that in his mind, it was not about the pornography, it was about the collection itself, as he is obsessive-compulsive.
Agents seized SCHIEFFER'S computer equipment and a forensic examination found hundreds of images and movies of child pornography that SCHIEFFER had received via the Internet during 1999 through 2008 and continued to possess until the equipment was seized. SCHIEFFER possessed images and movies of children clearly prepubescent and children engaged in sadistic or masochistic abuse or other depictions of violence.
SCHIEFFER faces possible penalties of a mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison and could be sentenced to 20 years, a $250,000 fine and lifetime supervision.
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.