News and Press Releases

Identified Using Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Technology

June 22, 2009

ART ARNOLD WELLER, 49, of Ocean Shores, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to five years in prison and ten years of supervised release for Receipt of Child Pornography. At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle said child pornography causes “scars that never go away,” and victimizes “the most helpless of victims.”

WELLER was identified through an FBI investigation of the sharing of child pornography through Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing technology. Using a P2P program, FBI investigators determined that a computer utilized by WELLER contained images of child pornography in its shared file folder. On January 23, 2008, agents served a search warrant at WELLER’s Ocean Shores home. A forensic review of WELLER’s computer revealed 2,967 still images of child pornography and 301 videos of child pornography. Many of the images depicted children under the age of twelve.

WELLER was employed as a cook at an Ocean Shores restaurant.

Prosecutors told the court that 25 years ago WELLER was charged with child molestation and received a deferred prosecution. “That fact can be viewed in two ways, “ Assistant United States Attorney Mike Dion wrote to the court. “The optimistic view is that Weller has not been accused of any hands-on offenses for a quarter of a century. The pessimistic view is that, since Weller has now plead to collecting child pornography, he has failed to get his demons under control despite having decades to tame them.”

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 the FBI with assistance from the Ocean Shores Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mike Dion.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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