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Press Release

California Man Sentenced to 960 Months for Producing
Child Pornography Involving Two Young Virginia Girls

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

John Stuart Dowell, 47, of Santa Cruz, Calif., was sentenced late yesterday in Harrisonburg, Va., to serve 960 months in prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release, for producing child pornography.

The sentence was announced by Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia Timothy J. Heaphy.

Dowell was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Michael Urbanski in the Western District of Virginia. 
In October 2012, Dowell pleaded guilty to 12 counts of using a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing visual depictions of that conduct and one count of transportation of child pornography.

According to a statement of facts entered into the record by the government and agreed to by the defendant, Dowell admitted that in late 2010 and early 2011 he was staying at a residence in Frederick County, Va.  While staying at the home, Dowell repeatedly sexually abused a 3-year-old girl and filmed the abuse.  A computer forensic examination further revealed that Dowell, in separate incidents, produced two videos of a 5-year-old female engaging in sexually explicit conduct. According to testimony provided at the sentencing hearing, Dowell also had a collection exceeding 70,000 images and videos of other child pornography and child erotica.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Northern Virginia-District of Columbia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, with assistance from the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the San Jose, Calif., Police Department, as well as Danish law enforcement officers and Interpol.  The High Tech Investigative Unit from the Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) conducted the forensic examination.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Nancy S. Healey and CEOS Trial Attorney Darcy Katzin are prosecuting the case for the United States.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.  Led by U.S. Attorneys’ offices and CEOS, 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 to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

Updated September 15, 2014

Press Release Number: 13-819