jury Convicts La Vergne, Tennessee Man of Multiple Child Pornography Offenses
A federal jury, yesterday, convicted Joel H. Gilchrist, 50, of La Vergne, Tennessee of a four count indictment charging two counts of distribution of child pornography as well as one count each of receipt and possession of child pornography, announced Jerry E. Martin, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.
At trial, the jury heard evidence about an on-line undercover investigation conducted by Franklin Police Department and Metro Nashville Police Department officers assigned to the Internet Crimes Against Children (“ICAC”) Task Force. Through that investigation, officers discovered that Gilchrist was distributing thousands of files through Limewire, a type of file-sharing software that operates on a peer-to-peer network. With that and other information developed through the investigation, officers obtained a search warrant for Gilchrist’s home.
According to testimony at trial, officers executed the search warrant on September 29, 2009, and subsequently seized multiple computers and various types of computer media. Forensic analysis uncovered over 47,000 images or videos of child pornography on Gilchrist’s computers, hard drives, and compact disks. The jury heard evidence establishing that the images and videos were of real children engaged in sexually explicit activity or being sexually abused in various ways.
Upon learning of the verdict, United States Attorney Jerry E. Martin commented: “Sex crimes involving children are among the most heinous crimes imaginable, and the United States Attorney’s Office will continue to vigorously prosecute those who possess, receive, and distribute child pornography. This office applauds the local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies who worked cooperatively on this investigation and helped to bring a dangerous defendant to justice.”
Gilchrist faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, and a possible maximum of up to 20 years in prison, for the distribution and receipt offenses. In addition, he faces up to ten years on the possession offense. United States District Judge Aleta Trauger, who presided over the trial, scheduled a sentencing hearing for March 7, 2011.
The case was investigated by officers and agents with the Franklin Police Department-ICAC Task Force, the Metro Nashville Police Department-ICAC Task Force, La Vergne Police Department, Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and the FBI. The United States was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ty Howard and Scarlett Singleton.
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