News and Press Releases

Robert James Lawton Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Thursday, February 04, 2010

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Missoula, on February 4, 2010, before U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy, ROBERT JAMES LAWTON, a 53-year-old resident of Bozeman, appeared for sentencing. LAWTON was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 72 months
  • Special Assessment: $200
  • Forfeiture: computer equipment
  • Supervised Release: 15 years

LAWTON was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to receipt and possession 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 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement were investigating allegations of child pornography access by users utilizing the peer-to-peer file sharing network. One investigation involved a person in Bozeman who had child pornography available to share via a file sharing program beginning in 2008. The computer IP address was tracked to LAWTON'S residence in Bozeman.

On January 27, 2009, a search warrant was served at the residence. When questioned, LAWTON admitted that he used the peer-to-peer file sharing program Limewire to receive and possess child pornography videos and images. Agents seized various computer equipment and a subsequent forensic examination revealed images and movies of child pornography that LAWTON had received via the Internet from approximately 2005 through 2009 and still possessed on January 27, 2009, when the items were seized. LAWTON 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 LAWTON will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, LAWTON 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 a cooperative effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Helena Police Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation.



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