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Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 16, 2018

Virginia Man Pleads Guilty to Distributing Child Pornography

A Gainesville, Virginia man pleaded guilty today to distribution of child pornography over the Internet. 

Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Tracy Doherty-McCormick of the Eastern District of Virginia and Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Lechleitner of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), made the announcement. 

Robert Potts, 55, pleaded guilty to one count of distributing child pornography before U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III of the Eastern District of Virginia.  Sentencing is scheduled for May 25.

According to admissions made in connection with his guilty plea, Potts was a user of the online peer-to-peer network GigaTribe and, in January 2014, he shared 51 child pornography files with another user of the network.  Unbeknownst to Potts, the other user was an undercover law enforcement agent.  Forensic examination of media devices seized during a subsequent search warrant executed at Potts’s residence revealed thousands of images and videos depicting the sexual abuse of children.  In addition, in 2015 and 2016, Potts continued to view and store child pornography through an account with the cloud-storage service Dropbox.

HSI investigated the case with the assistance of the Northern Virginia/DC Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.  Trial Attorney Kyle P. Reynolds of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section is prosecuting the case.

This investigation is a 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.

Press Release Number: 
18-202
Updated February 20, 2018