News and Press Releases

"Distributor of Child Pornography Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 15, 2011

Spokane – Today, Michael C. Ormsby, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that John Alan Harmon, age 58, of Cheney, Washington, was sentenced to 120 months in prison for distribution of child pornography. After he serves his prison sentence, Mr. Harmon was ordered to remain under court supervision for the rest of his life. Mr. Harmon was also ordered to forfeit $120,000 in lieu of the forfeiture of his residence in Cheney. Federal law allows for the forfeiture of any property used to commit the offense. In this case, Mr. Harmon used the privacy of his home to distribute child pornography over the Internet.

In October 2009, the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Maryland discovered an individual trading and sharing child pornography over the Internet. Further investigation revealed that the individual was located in Cheney, Washington, and was a registered sex offender, John Alan Harmon. On January 7, 2010, a federal search warrant was executed at Mr. Harmon's home in Cheney. FBI agents seized a laptop computer containing approximately 1,700 images of child pornography. Agents also seized nine thumb drives, nine memory cards, and an additional hard drive, all containing approximately 36,000 images of child pornography, including prepubescent children and toddler boys. After an indictment was filed, Mr. Harmon was arrested on January 10, 2011, and has remained in custody ever since.

In January 2003, Mr. Harmon was sentenced to 3-years in federal prison for distribution of child pornography. As a result of this prior conviction, Mr. Harmon was required to register as a sex offender.

Michael C. Ormsby, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, said, "The network of dedicated law enforcement officers across the country that search for and identify child pornographers are invaluable to making our communities safer."

This case is being brought as part of the Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood. Project Safe Childhood is a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the 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 identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov. The Project Safe Childhood (PSC) Initiative has five major components:

  • Integrated federal, state, and local efforts to investigate and prosecute child exploitation cases, and to identify and rescue child victims
  • Participation of PSC partners in coordinated national initiatives
  • Increased federal enforcement in child pornography and enticement cases
  • Training of federal, state, and local law enforcement agents
  • Community awareness and educational programs

To report these crimes, visit www.cybertipline.com or call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's hotline at 1-800-843-5678.

This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Victim Identification Program also provided assistance. This case was prosecuted by Stephanie Van Marter, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.

11-CR-007-EFS

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