FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
WEDNESDAY - August 10, 2011
CURRITUCK MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGES
GREENVILLE - United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced that in federal court today WILLIAM DEREK HOPKINS, 30, pled guilty before United State Magistrate Judge David W. Daniel to receipt of child pornography, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2252(a)(2).
According to the Criminal Indictment returned on February 23, 2011, from December 28, 2009, to January 11, 2010, HOPKINS received 13 digital and computer images of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. The Indictment further alleges that on March 26, 2010, HOPKINS was found in the possession of images depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
The investigation revealed that law enforcement from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, were performing an undercover investigation of users using Limewire and similar peer-to-peer software in order to share child pornography. They located and traced a user in Currituck, North Carolina, who was later identified as HOPKINS. Based on this information, local Federal Bureau of Investigation agents obtained a search warrant of the residence of HOPKINS. Upon searching the computer used by HOPKINS, agents found peer-to-peer software from Limewire and Frostwire with files containing images of child pornography. Approximately 154 still images and 17 videos were found.
At sentencing, set for November, 2011, HOPKINS faces up to five years’ imprisonment for each count of receipt of child pornography. However, if HOPKINS has had a prior conviction relating to sexual abuse or sexual conduct involving a minor, he faces up to 15 years’ imprisonment for each count.
This case is part of the Project Safe Childhood initiative, a national program aimed at ensuring that criminals exploiting children are effectively prosecuted by making full use of all available law enforcement resources at every level. For more information about this important national project, Project Safe Childhood, go to www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
Assistant United States Attorney Ethan Ontjes is serving as prosecutor for the government.
News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.justice.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.