Justice News

Department of Justice
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 14, 2016

Former U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Employee Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison for Transportation and Possession of Child Pornography

A former regional chief of public affairs for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was sentenced to 30 years in prison today in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia for charges involving the sexual exploitation of children, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney John P. Fishwick Jr. of the Western District of Virginia.

On Oct. 6, 2015, Michael Steven Beeman, 62, of Winchester, Virginia, pleaded guilty to one count of transportation of child pornography and four counts of possession of child pornography.  U.S. District Court Judge Michael F. Urbanski of the Western District of Virginia sentenced Beeman and also ordered him to serve a lifetime term of supervised release.

According to documents filed with the plea agreement, in and around the late 1980s, Beeman was a U.S. Air Force employee in a public affairs position at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida and during that time, engaged in sexual acts with a minor on multiple occasions and sometimes recorded the abuse.  In 2014, Beeman’s dog walker discovered images of naked minors on one of Beeman’s devices and called the Frederick County, Virginia, Sheriff’s Office, according to the plea document.  Beeman further admitted that, in January 2014, he had more than 50 items, including VHS tapes, DVDs, desktop and laptop computers, tablets, external hard drives and thumb drives, at his home that contained thousands of images of child sexual exploitation.

At sentencing, Judge Urbanski found that Beeman sexually abused two minors on multiple occasions and later downloaded images of similar victimization of other children for his own interests.  

The Page County, Virginia, Sheriff’s Office; the Northern Virginia/Washington, D.C., Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and Evidence Recovery Section; the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office; the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; the Virginia Attorney General’s Office’s Computer Evidence Recovery Section; the Virginia State Police’s High Tech Crimes-Computer Recovery Section; the Air Force Office of Special Investigations; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Middle East District; and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) High Tech Investigative Unit investigated the case.  CEOS Trial Attorney Herbrina D. Sanders and Assistant U.S. Attorney Nancy S. Healey of the Western District of Virginia prosecuted the case.

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 www.justice.gov/psc.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Press Release Number: 
16-454
Updated April 14, 2016