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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Department of Justice

United States Attorney James R. Dedrick Eastern District of Tennessee


THREE ARRESTED FOR TRAFFICKING IN CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

KNOXVILLE, Tenn — Three East Tennessee residents have been arrested on unrelated child pornography charges.

Aubrey Cole, 78, of Rockwood, Tennessee, was arrested today by the Knoxville Police Department, Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) and the FBI, on charges of receipt and possession of child pornography. An initial appearance was held this afternoon before the Honorable Bruce Guyton, United States Magistrate Judge. Cole’s formal arraignment has been postponed until June 22, 2010, at which time a trial date will be set before the Honorable Thomas Phillips.

Sean Widmer, 39, of Concord, Tennessee, was arrested today by the ICAC and FBI on charges of receipt and possession of child pornography. During an initial appearance before the Honorable Bruce Guyton, Widmer entered a plea of not guilty. A detention hearing has been scheduled for June 20, 2010, and the trial is scheduled for August 25, 2010, before the Honorable Thomas Varlan.

Jeffrey Alan Stidham, 44, of New Tazewell, Tennessee was arrested yesterday by Special Agents of the FBI. The grand jury charged Stidham with one count each of distributing, receiving, and possessing child pornography. Stidham pled not guilty to the charges. A detention hearing has been set for June 23, 2010, before the Honorable C. Clifford Shirley, Jr., United States Magistrate Judge. The trial was scheduled for August 17, 2010, before Judge Varlan.

Members of the public are reminded that these are only charges and that every person is presumed innocent until their guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

These cases were brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices, PSC 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 PSC, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

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