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August 31, 2009

CONROE RESIDENT SENTENCED FOR DISTRIBUTING AND POSSESSING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

(HOUSTON) – Josiah Samuel Stevens, 22, of Conroe, Texas, has been sentenced to five years in federal prison without parole for distributing and possessing child pornography to be followed by a lifetime term of supervised release, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today. Stevens was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt earlier today.

Stevens came to the attention of law enforcement as a result of a cybertip to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) from Viacom Inc., who owned and operated a commercial website, on March 19, 2008, regarding an image on the website that depicted child pornography.

Viacom Inc., and their subsidiary company MTV, owned and operated a website where individuals could enter a contest to become a best friend to Paris Hilton. An individual who entered the contest was required to create an account which included information about the person and an image to be associated with the person’s account. The image that was uploaded by Stevens in March 2008 onto the website depicted a nude prepubescent female, approximately two to three years of age, posed in a sexually lascivious manner touching the exposed and erect penis of a nude adult male which was pressed to her sexual organ. This image posted on the website by Stevens was accessible to the public and any person could view the image. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Cyber-Crime Operation Predator Squad initiated an investigation to identify the person responsible for the image.

ICE agents in Houston ultimately identified a computer in Stevens’ residence as the source of the posted image and secured a federal warrant to search it. ICE agents seized computers and other storage media. A forensic exam of the seized items found images and videos containing child pornography, some of which included victims under the age of 12 and portrayed sadistic or masochistic conduct or other depictions of violence. NCMEC was sent a copy of the images and found images of known victims depicted in the images.

Stevens confessed to possessing the child pornography found on the computers seized from his residence. At his rearraignment hearing in May 2009,Stevens pleaded guilty to both distributing and possessing child pornography and also admitted to the distribution of the image on the contest webpage. 

In addition to the prison term, the court has ordered Stevens serve a lifetime term of supervised release during which the court has impose the following special conditions designed to protect children and prohibit his use of the Internet -- registration as a sex offender for life, no contact with children, enrolment in a sex offender program and no use of a computer or the Internet.

On bond since his February 2009 arrest, the court has permitted Stevens to remain on bond pending the designation of a Bureau of Prisons facility where he will serve his sentence and an order of the court directing him to surrender to that facility.

The ICE Cyber-Crime Operation Predator Squad is dedicated to investigating online exploitation of children and child pornography. This case was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Demetrius K. Bivins.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices, 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.

 

 

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