US Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that a Huron man charged with possessing child pornography was sentenced on January 13, 2011, by Chief US District Judge Karen E. Schreier. Joshua Jerome Morse, age 32, was sentenced to 78 months in custody to be followed by 5 years of supervised release. He will also be required to register as a sex offender upon completion of his sentence.
Morse was indicted for Possession of Child Pornography by a federal grand jury on July 7, 2010. The investigation began in late 2009 when investigators discovered Morse sharing files containing child pornography on the internet. Members of the South Dakota Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force searched Morse’s Huron residence in December 2009. At that time, they seized his computer, two external hard drives, and over 100 compact discs. Forensic examination of the seized evidence revealed the presence of over 3,000 images and over 200 videos of child pornography. Morse admitted that his viewing and collection of child pornography began approximately 10 years prior to his being caught. He pled guilty to the indictment on October 7, 2010.
This case was investigated by the US Department of Homeland Security, Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, and other members of the South Dakota Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, including the Brookings Police Department. Assistant US Attorney Jeffrey C. Clapper prosecuted the case.
Morse will self-report to the US Marshal later this month.
This case is being 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 the 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.