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Clatsop County Man, Serving a Sentence for Child Sexual Abuse, Sentenced in Federal Child Pornography Case

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 22, 2012

PORTLAND, Ore. - A Clatsop County man, currently serving an Oregon state sentence for sexually abusing two young relatives, was sentenced this morning to an additional term of imprisonment in connection with a federal child pornography conviction. U.S. District Judge Marco A. Hernandez sentenced Byron Lee Newton, 49, of Astoria, Oregon, to 135 months in prison, followed by a life term of supervised release, following Newton's guilty pleas to two counts of transportation of child pornography in violation of federal law. All but 15 months of Newton's federal sentence will run consecutively to the 75-month Oregon state sentence he is presently serving following his conviction of two counts of sexual abuse in the first degree in Clatsop County Circuit Court.

During his term of supervised release, Newton will be subject to stringent conditions of supervision, including prohibitions on associating with minors and frequenting places where children congregate, limitations on where he may reside, and restrictions on his use of computers. Newton will also be required to participate in mental health and sex offender treatment programs, and must register as a sex offender.

Newton came to the attention of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) during an investigation into individuals who were trading in images of child pornography on an Internet web site, and chatting with each other online about the sexual abuse of children. Investigators served a federal search warrant at Newton's Astoria residence in November 2010, and seized computer equipment containing images and videos depicting child pornography. Following the search, investigators learned that Newton had also sexually abused two young relatives over a two-year period. As a result, Newton was charged with both state sex abuse offenses, and federal child pornography offenses. In July 2011, Newton was sentenced to 75 months in prison in the Clatsop County case.

In imposing the federal sentence, Judge Hernandez noted that offenses involving the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children were high priorities for the federal government because of the "devastating" harm to children that such offenses cause. Judge Hernandez described the images Newton was trading in as "extraordinarily disturbing" and noted that Newton had also abused his two young relatives. At the sentencing hearing, Newton acknowledged that what he did "was wrong" admitted that "it shouldn't have happened" and apologized for his conduct.

U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall praised the cooperative efforts of federal and state officials, and the significant sentences that Newton received as a result. "We will never tolerate the sexual abuse and exploitation of children," she said. "We will work together so that those who prey on children are held to account." She added that "In addition to punishing this defendant for the heinous acts he committed, the sentences serve as a warning to anyone who possesses images depicting child sexual abuse that we will find them and they will be punished to the full extent of the law."

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 and 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.

This case was investigated by HSI and the Astoria Police Department. It was prosecuted in state court by the Clatsop County District Attorney's Office, and in federal court by Assistant U. S. Attorney Gary Sussman, Project Safe Childhood Coordinator for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Oregon.

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