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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Alaska

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 16, 2018

Juneau Sex Offender Sentenced for Receipt of Child Pornography

Anchorage, Alaska –U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced today Jim Wayne Thornhill, 40, of Juneau, Alaska, was sentenced on Friday, February 16, 2018 to 262 months (21 years and 10 months) in prison, followed by a lifetime term on supervised release, for receipt of child pornography.  On September 22, 2017, a federal jury found Thornhill guilty after a five-day trial before Chief U.S. District Court Judge Timothy M. Burgess.

According to the evidence presented at trial, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had received a report of harm that had been 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 was called in to assist in the investigation.  The FBI traced the phone call to a local employer and subsequently identified, Jim Wayne Thornhill, as a person of interest. At Thornhill’s initial contact, Thornhill denied having a cell phone and admitted making the phone call the FBI was investigating.  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 the defendant had repeatedly sexually abused a child from the age of 6 to11. 

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.  FBI interviewed Thornhill several days later.  In that interview, the defendant admitted to writing the handwritten lists of search terms and admitted ownership of the cell phone, and admitted to accessing the Internet with the cell phone between September and November 2014 to look for adult and child pornography that were “just naked kids.” Based on this information, the FBI obtained a search warrant for the defendant’s cell phone, which revealed at 581 images of child pornography that were downloaded between the dates of November 3, 2014 through December 25, 2014.  Many of the images were of young pre-pubescent children engaged in sexually explicit conduct, including images that depicted a adult male sexually assaulting a toddler.  

The FBI investigated this case, with assistance from the Juneau Police Department.  Assistant United States 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.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Updated February 23, 2018