NAVY ENLISTED MAN SENTENCED TO FIVE YEARS IN PRISON FOR POSSESSION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY
Defendant Traded Child Porn On-Line While Stationed Aboard USS Abe Lincoln
BILLY WAYNE WELCH, 44, of Arlington, Washington, was sentenced today to five years in prison and ten years of supervised release for Possession of Child Pornography. WELCH was the Senior Aviation Ordinance Chief aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln based at Everett, Washington. WELCH had served 26 years in the Navy at the time of his arrest in December 2008. WELCH came to the attention of authorities as part of an investigation into people using an on-line “chat” program to trade child pornography. WELCH was identified as having traded child pornography with a suspect in Florida. At sentencing, Chief U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik said it is important to remember the victims in child pornography cases, who are re-victimized each time the abusive images are viewed by new individuals.
According to records filed in the case, investigators with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) served search warrants at both WELCH’s Arlington home and his quarters aboard the Lincoln. They seized computer equipment, which was forensically analyzed. Agents determined there were 16,000 images of child pornography and 600 videos of child pornography contained on the computer equipment. WELCH pleaded guilty March 6, 2009.
In asking for a significant sentence, Assistant United States Attorney Mary K. Dimke noted that she was “particularly concerned by Mr. Welch’s inability to recognize and appreciate the harm done to the helpless child victims portrayed in his collection. Mr. Welch characterizes his viewing of extensive amounts of child pornography, including videos where he actually watched the brutal victimization of children, as only ‘fantasy.’”
This case is being brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice launched Project Safe Childhood, 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.
The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mary K. Dimke.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@USDOJ.Gov.