News and Press Releases

Previously Convicted Child Sex Offender Sentenced to Prison for Child Pornography Offense

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 15, 2012

Burlington, VT – The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that Shawn Simard, 26, formerly of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, was sentenced on August 13, 2012, in United States District Court in Burlington, Vermont, to serve 121-months imprisonment and a 15-year term of supervised release following his guilty plea to one count of possession of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(4). United States District Judge William K. Sessions III also ordered Simard to pay a $100 special assessment.

According to court records, in November 2004, Shawn Simard, then age 17, was convicted in Vermont state court of Lewd & Lascivious Conduct with a child. He had sexually assaulted a girl (age approximately five-years old) on multiple occasions. For this conviction, he received a deferred three-year sentence, was placed on probation, and ordered to comply with sex offender treatment.

Within a year of being placed on supervision, in October 2005, Simard's probation was revoked because he failed to comply with his sex offender treatment. His sentence was modified to two-to-five years in custody, all suspended. Approximately four months later, in February 2006, Simard's probation was revoked again because he could not comply with his sex offender treatment requirements. His sentence was modified to two-to-five years in custody, all suspended except 18 months to serve.

Simard was released from custody in May 2007, placed on supervision, and ordered to participate in sex offender treatment. In January 2009, during a sex offender counseling session, he disclosed that he had viewed pornography on a computer at his residence. His probation officer went to his residence and found adult pornography and the computer. On the computer was found an approximately 30-minute long video depicting multiple scenes of explicit child pornography.

Simard's state probation was revoked and he was charged in federal court with possession of child pornography and receipt of child pornography. Simard ultimately entered into a plea agreement with the government where he was permitted to plead guilty to the possession of child pornography count, not the receipt of child pornography count. Because of his prior conviction for child sex abuse, his guilty plea to the possession count carried with it a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence.

As part of the plea agreement, the defendant agreed to submit to a psychosexual examination by an expert of the government's choosing. The government's retained expert found that Simard presented a high risk of sexual offense recidivism.

At sentencing, based on Simard's personal history, offensive conduct, and the expert's opinion, the government argued for imposition of the statutory maximum sentence of 20 years incarceration, to be followed by a lifetime period of supervised release. The district court, after hearing testimony from the government's expert and the argument of counsel imposed the sentence of 121-months incarceration and a 15-year period of supervised release.

United States Attorney Tristram J. Coffin commended the efforts of the St. Johnsbury Police Department, the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and Homeland Security Investigations, in the investigation and prosecution of Simard.

The prosecution of Simard was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara A. Masterson. Simard was represented by Federal Defender Michael L. Desautels.

U.S. Attorney Coffin noted that this prosecution is part of the U.S. Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorney's 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 identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

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