News and Press Releases

Joseph Edward Schieffer Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on January 27, 2010, before Senior U.S. District Judge Jack D. Shanstrom, JOSEPH EDWARD SCHIEFFER, a 52-year-old resident of Sidney, appeared for sentencing. SCHIEFFER was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 97 months
  • Special Assessment: $100
  • Restitution: $3,000
  • Supervised Release: life

SCHIEFFER was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to receipt of child pornography.

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.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that SCHIEFFER will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, SCHIEFFER does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

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



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