Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Taking Pictures of Himself Performing Oral Sex on a Six-year-old Boy
Reno, Nev. – A Lyon County man who operated a charitable foundation to help handicapped persons has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison and lifetime supervised release for his guilty plea to production of child pornography, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
Jeremiah James Higley, 33, of Stagecoach, Nevada, was sentenced on Thursday, October 20, 2011, by Senior U.S. District Judge Edward C. Reed. Higley was indicted on January 26, 2010, and pleaded guilty on June 13, 2011.
"I commend the Internet Crimes Against Children and Innocent Images Task Forces for their efforts at keeping our children safe from sexual predators," said U.S. Attorney Bogden. "We will continue to prioritize these prosecutions and our Project Safe Childhood initiative."
According to the court records, on about March 17, 2009, Higley photographed himself performing oral sex on a six-year-old boy who was in his custody at the time. The case grew out of an investigation aimed at identifying persons sharing child pornography over the Internet via peer-to-peer file sharing programs. In October 2010, an FBI agent in New York working undercover downloaded 39 images and videos of child pornography that Higley had posted on his file sharing site. Higley also admitted in an online chat with the agent that he had engaged in sexual contact with minors. On January 6, 2011, members of the Internet Crimes Against Children and Innocent Images Task Forces in Reno executed a federal search warrant at Higley's residence and seized several computers and other items of electronic media containing child pornography. During the forensic examination of the computers, several still images of child pornography produced by Higley in his bedroom were discovered. These images included images of the six-year-old victim in various poses displaying his genitalia. In addition, four of the images showed Higley performing oral sex on the child.
According to information submitted to the court by Higley, he is President of the Jeremiah Higley Foundation, Inc. which had a mission of bringing handicapped accessibility to light. The Foundation hosted golf and bowling events to raise money. The defendant also stated in his court filings that he had been confined to a wheelchair since he was 25 due to a rare nervous system disease and that he had been subjected to severe sexual abuse for a significant period of time as a young boy.
The investigation was conducted by members of the Internet Crimes Against Children and Innocent Images Task Forces, including the FBI, U.S. ICE Homeland Security Investigations, Nevada Attorney General's Office, Washoe County Sheriff's Office and the Carson City Sheriff's Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Carla Higginbotham.
The 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 U.S. Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys' Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) of the U.S. Department of Justice, 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.