News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

WEDNESDAY - JULY 2, 2008

CHILD PORNOGRAPHER SENTENCED TO 18 YEARS IN PRISON

GREENVILLE - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court yesterday United States District Judge Malcolm J. Howard re-sentenced ROBERT JOHNSON, 57, of Raleigh, North Carolina, to 216 months’ imprisonment for the transmission of child pornography, receipt of child pornography and possession of child pornography. On December 6, 2005, the Court had sentenced JOHNSON to 144 months’ imprisonment, granting a downward variance due to JOHNSON’s age, the cost of imprisonment, and the Court’s belief that a lesser sentence would adequately take into account the seriousness of the offense. The government appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which remanded the case for re-sentencing.

“Our office’s Project Safe Childhood program is focusing resources on cases like this one to remove child predators from our communities,” commented Mr. Holding.

A Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Indictment on April 20, 2005.On August 2, 2005, JOHNSON pled guilty. JOHNSON engaged in an online conversation with an agent from the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who had assumed the identity of a child pornographer. During the conversation, JOHNSON transferred images of prepubescent girls in explicit sexual poses and spoke of sexual interest in his own grandchildren. Acting on this information, agents obtained a search warrant for JOHNSON’s apartment. Officers seized his computer and related media along with some printed material. In all, JOHNSON possessed more than 1900 pictures and videos of child pornography.

A search of JOHNSON’S computer also recovered numerous internet chat logs in which JOHNSON had sexual conversations with 13 and 14-year old girls, chat logs where he asked women to bring their children to North Carolina for him to sexually abuse, a chat log where he specifically instructed a woman in graphic detail about how to abuse a small child who was there with her, and other chat logs suggesting illicit behavior by the defendant.

This case was part of a undercover operation known as Operation Baby Net.

Investigation of the case was conducted by the Department of Homeland Security, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement; the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation; and the Raleigh Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys David Bragdon and Jay Exum served as prosecutor for the government.

 

News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.

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