News and Press Releases


August 2, 2010

BIRMINGHAM - A new national strategy for preventing child sexual exploitation reinforces efforts in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama to protect children from such crimes through continual prosecution of child pornography and online enticement cases, said U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance.

In late June, the U.S. Attorney’s Office won a life sentence against a sexual predator and a 12 ½-year sentence against a man who received child pornography on the Internet and on his cell phone, Vance said. The office’s most recent child exploitation indictment came last week when a grand jury charged a 66-year-old Jefferson County man, WALTER D. SPRUILL, with using the Internet to distribute, receive and possess images of child pornography.

A former part-time middle school coach in Hoover remains in jail awaiting trial on an April indictment for receiving, distributing and possessing child pornography, Vance said.

“Our work is aimed at catching and prosecuting people who make pornography using children and who distribute that pornography,” Vance said. “The sexual exploitation of children is reprehensible criminal conduct that we have no intention of permitting in this district,” she said. “We are devoting substantial resources and working together with our state and local partners to investigate and prosecute those crimes.”

In the last 60 days, the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, led by Birmingham’s Resident Agent in Charge Jesse Blakeman, and the Hoover Police Department, under the direction of Chief Nick Derzis, have launched a joint undercover operation to target online child exploitation. The FBI office in Birmingham, led by Special Agent in Charge Patrick Maley, has launched a separate online undercover initiative, Vance said.

The U.S. Attorney discussed her office’s prosecution of child exploitation cases in conjunction with today’s announcement of a National Strategy for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

Holder issued a press release and presented the strategy as a blueprint to strengthen the fight against crimes of child pornography, online enticement, child sex tourism, commercial sexual exploitation and sexual exploitation in Indian Country.

Since FY 2006, the Department of Justice has filed 8,464 child exploitation cases against 8,637 defendants through Project Safe Childhood (PSC). These cases include prosecutions of online enticement of children to engage in sexual activity, interstate transportation of children to engage in sexual activity, and the production, distribution and possession of child pornography.

Since March 1 in North Alabama, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has charged at least 15 PSC cases and realized sentences ranging from 3 ½ years to life in prison. Among those sentences are:


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