Juneau Man Convicted for Receipt of Child Pornography
Juneau, Alaska – Acting U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced today that on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, a federal jury of six women and six men convicted a Juneau man of receipt of child pornography.
Jim Wayne Thornhill, 40, of Juneau, was found guilty after a three-day trial before Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy M. Burgess. Sentencing has been scheduled for Nov. 30, 2017, in Juneau. Thornhill faces a maximum penalty of no less than 15 years and up to 40 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, a five-year to life term of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment. Thornhill is a convicted sex offender, who was convicted by the State of Alaska for sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree in 2007, where he had repeatedly sexually abused a child from the age of six to 11.
According to the evidence presented at trial, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) received a report of harm forwarded from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) to the Juneau Police Department. The FBI subsequently identified Thornhill as a person of interest.
On Oct. 7, 2015, Thornhill was contacted by the FBI and was interviewed, where he denied having a cell phone. The FBI learned that Thornhill’s employer located a cell phone and handwritten lists with search terms and internet addresses that were associated with child pornography. The FBI subsequently interviewed Thornhill again on Oct. 13, 2015, where he admitted to writing the handwritten lists of search terms, ownership of the cell phone, and accessing the Internet with the cell phone between September and November 2014. He claimed he was looking for adult and child pornography that were “just naked kids.” Based on this information, the FBI obtained a search warrant for Thornhill’s cell phone which revealed at least 100 images of child pornography that were downloaded between the dates of Nov. 3, 2014, through Dec. 25, 2014. Many of the images were of young pre-pubescent children engaged in sexually explicit conduct, including images that depicted an adult male sexually assaulting a toddler.
The FBI investigated this case, with assistance from the Juneau Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Schmidt, located in the Juneau Branch Office, prosecuted this case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood, U.S. 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.projectsafechildhood.gov.