FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
MONDAY - January 12, 2009
STOVALL MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGES
RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court here today ZACH LEON SLAUGHTER, 55, of Stovall, North Carolina, pled guilty before United States District Judge James C. Dever, III, to receipt of child pornography, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2252(a)(2).
A Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Indictment on October 15, 2008. In May, 2007, SLAUGHTER took pictures of a child at a church function. He later gave five prints of the photographs to the child’s family. On the reverse side of two of the pictures the family noticed sexually oriented pictures of children. The Granville County Sheriff’s Office was alerted and a search warrant of SLAUGHTER’s residence was obtained and executed. While the search was occurring, investigators noticed his computer was on and the screen was showing child pornography.
A forensic examination of the seized computer was conducted and approximately 745 images of child pornography were found, including at least 50 images of victims identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Mr. Holding commented, “Child predators wait for any opportunity to exploit children. Many times I have warned that every parent, every responsible person, must help to protect our children. The family in this case became aware of a situation and took the appropriate action by notifying law enforcement when they found the pictures.” The maximum penalty for each of the receipt and possession charges is up to 20 years imprisonment followed by up to a lifetime term of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The penalty increases to a 15-year minimum and 40-year maximum term of imprisonment if the defendant has a prior offense related to child pornography, child sex abuse, and certain other sex offenses.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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 to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
Investigation of the case was conducted by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Granville County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney 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.