News and Press Releases

fayetteville man sentenced in child pornography case

March 19, 2014

RALEIGH - United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced that in federal court today United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced FRANKLIN WADE MEARES, 46, to 96 months imprisonment followed by 10 years supervised release. 

A Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Indictment on June 18, 2013. On December 18, 2013, MEARES pled guilty to receipt of child pornography. 

According to the investigation, on September 14, 2012, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office initiated an undercover investigation related to the distribution of child pornography through the use of peer-to-peer (P2P) software.  P2P software allows users to search for images, videos, and digital files by entering search terms.  During the course of the investigation, a computer was identified by its IP address as using the Gnutella P2P network and offering to share child pornography.  The IP addressed led law enforcement to MEARES and a search warrant was executed.  Forensic examination of the computer uncovered over 12,000 images depicting children under the age of 12 engaged in sexual activity.   

Investigation of this case was conducted by the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.  Assistant United States Attorney Ethan A. Ontjes prosecuted the case.

This case was 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

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