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Nov. 12, 2009

HOUSTON AREA MAN CONVICTED OF PRODUCING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

(HOUSTON) - Joseph Marshall Montross, 30, a Houston resident, has been convicted of producing child pornography, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today. Montross pleaded guilty today to the federal felony charge before United States District Judge Sim Lake.

The charge against Montross is the result of an investigation conducted by the Houston office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and members of the Pasadena Independent School District (ISD) Police Department, the lead agency in the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The investigation began on Feb. 29, 2008, when agents of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Internal Affairs contacted ICE. CBP told ICE agents that Montross, who had applied for employment with CBP, had admitted during a pre-employment polygraph examination to possessing child pornography on his home computer. On the same date, Houston ICE agents seized a laptop and some external hard drives from Montross’ Houston residence. These items were submitted for forensic analysis.

While conducting the forensic examination of the images and videos found on the items seized from Montross’ residence, an ICE agent saw videos that contained child pornography which appeared to be made by Montross. Montross admitted to federal agents he had made the videos. The majority of the 9000 images and 107 videos were found on the external hard drives and included prepubescent females involved with bondage, penetration, oral sex and masturbation.

The images and videos were sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children who was able to verify that images from more than 40 identified victims were found on images or videos on Montross’ computer equipment.

Montross faces a minimum sentence of 15 years up to a maximum of 30 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000. Upon completion of any prison term imposed, Montross also faces up to a lifetime of supervised release during which the court can impose a number of special conditions designed to protect children and prohibit the use of the Internet. The sentencing is set for Feb. 12, 2010. Montross has been in federal custody without bond since his arrest and will remain in federal custody pending his sentencing.

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. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Stabe.

 

 

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