News and Press Releases

David Gene Norton Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings, on November 18, 2009, before Senior U.S. District Judge Jack D. Shanstrom, DAVID GENE NORTON, a 46-year-old resident of Billings, appeared for sentencing. NORTON was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 160 months
  • Special Assessment: $100
  • Forfeiture: computer equipment
  • Supervised Release: lifetime

NORTON 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:

On December 15, 2008, deputies from the Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office responded to a report that a fifteen-year-old girl had been sexually assaulted by NORTON at his residence in Shepherd.

During the course of the investigation, the teen reported that NORTON also liked to view child pornography on their home computers. Two computers were seized from NORTON'S residence. A forensic examination revealed several hundred images of child pornography that NORTON had received via the Internet beginning on an unknown date through 2008 and continued to possess until the equipment was seized. NORTON possessed images of children clearly prepubescent and children engaged in sadistic or masochistic abuse or other depictions of violence. Numerous searches for child pornography and incest images were also found.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that NORTON will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, NORTON 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 Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office and the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation.

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



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