Virginia Beach Man Convicted Of Child Pornography and Obscenity Charges
NORFOLK, Va. – Robert Springstead, 28, of Virginia Beach, Va., was convicted yesterday by a Norfolk federal court on charges of receipt, possession and distribution of images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and receipt and possession of the obscene visual representations of sexual abuse of children.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and John P. Torres, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), made the announcement after the verdicts were reached by United States District Judge Mark S Davis. Springstead faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when he is sentenced on January 23, 2012.
Springstead was originally indicted on April 20, 2011. A superseding indictment was returned on August 3, 2011, charging him with 11 counts of distribution of child pornography, three counts of receipt of child pornography, one count of possession of child pornography, two counts of receipt of obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children, and one count of possession of obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children.
According to court records and evidence at trial, Springstead was identified as trading child pornography on a sophisticated Peer-to-Peer network on the Internet. Springstead distributed these images to undercover agents in both Delaware and Texas. Springstead was also found to be in possession of over 1500 of images and movies of child pornography as well as thousands of images of obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children.
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 (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.
This case was investigated by ICE HSI. Assistant United States Attorney Elizabeth M. Yusi is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.