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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                          July 12, 2012                   

WYOMING COUNTY MAN SENTENCED TO FIVE YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR TRANSPORTING SEXUALLY EXPLICIT IMAGES OF MINORS

BECKLEY, W.Va. – U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin announced today that a Wyoming County man was sentenced to five years in federal prison and 15 years of supervised release for transporting sexually explicit images of minors.  Danny Boye Cook, 37, of Pineville, W.Va., previously pleaded guilty in February.  Cook admitted that he transported by his computer images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

An undercover investigation conducted by the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force revealed that on August 16, 2011, Cook began communicating via Facebook with a person whom he believed to be a twelve-year-old boy located in Victoria, Texas.  Unbeknownst to Cook, the twelve-year-old boy was actually an undercover law enforcement officer working in an undercover online child exploitation operation in an attempt to catch child predators on the Internet.  A short time after Cook contacted the person he believed to be a twelve-year-old boy, Cook suggested that the two of them continue to communicate online by way of Yahoo Instant Message.  After the two of them chatted online for a period of time, Cook transported by his computer 19 images and four videos of minor boys engaged in sexually explicit conduct, that is, actual or simulated sexual intercourse and the lascivious exhibition of the genitals and pubic area of the minors.  

On August 19, 2011, law enforcement officers conducted a search of Cook’s residence in Pineville.  During the search, the officers located Cook’s desktop computer and a forensic examination revealed that Cook possessed more than 600 images and videos of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct on his desktop computer.   Cook admitted to law enforcement officers that he knew the images and videos constituted child pornography. 

The case was investigated by the Victoria (Texas) Police Department, Victoria County (Texas) Sheriff’s Office, the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the West Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the West Virginia State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Lisa Johnston handled the prosecution. 

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/wvs/PSCpage.html. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and follow the link named “Resources.”

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