FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office Continue to Fight Against Child Pornography
Five recent cases net the recovery of hundreds of thousands of child pornography images, some found in the possession of previously convicted sex offenders
DENVER – As part of the Department of Justice’s ongoing efforts to prosecute sexual predators and protect innocent victims, Acting U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer and FBI Denver Division Special Agent in Charge Calvin Shivers are highlighting five recent child pornography cases that demonstrate both agencies’ commitment to that mission. These cases follow shortly on the heels of Acting U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer's announcement of the formation of the Cybercrime and National Security Section, which is dedicated to protecting the citizens of Colorado and the nation from the growing threat of online crimes and threats to the homeland. The below cases demonstrate the effectiveness of this new section in responding to these threats.
Sharee Ewudzi-Acquah, age 47, of Westminster, Colorado, pleaded guilty on April 28, 2017 to possessing child pornography. She had been held without bond following her arrest by the FBI on the indictment obtained on October 20, 2016. According to the Plea Agreement and facts provided to the court during the defendant’s detention hearing, the defendant traded child pornography with multiple other like-minded people using an application on her cellular telephones. The defendant shared dozens of images of child pornography online, and she engaged in graphic chats with others about having sex with children. She also chatted with a man about having a child they could molest together. Following the forensic analysis on Ewudzi-Acquah’s phones, agents determined the defendant was using cloud storage, foreign emails, and foreign cloud storage – in both New Zealand and in Russia. Evidence also showed that the defendant, who had a long-term job at the University of Colorado, traded child pornography and chatted about child pornography while at work. The defendant is scheduled to be sentenced on July 28th, 2017 before U.S. District Court Judge Philip Brimmer. The defendant has agreed in the Plea Agreement not to seek a sentence of less than five years. She faces up to 10 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine to be followed by not less than 5 years up to lifetime supervised release. The defendant was remanded to custody pending the sentencing hearing.
Walter Briggs, age 62, of Denver, Colorado, pleaded guilty on August 18, 2016, to a possession of child pornography charge. He was sentenced on April 24th, 2017 by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Marcia Krieger to serve 15 years in federal prison followed by supervised release for life. He was also ordered to pay $22,000 in restitution to his victims. Briggs was held without bond after his arrest by the FBI on the indictment on January 28th, 2016. He was remanded to custody following the sentencing hearing. According to court records, Briggs has two other felony sex convictions and was a registered sex offender at the time he committed the federal offense. In 1984, the defendant was convicted of Attempted Sexual Assault on a Child. In 1993, the defendant was convicted of Sexual Assault on a Child by One in a Position of Trust. Each involved the sex assault of minor girls. In October 2015, law enforcement found that Briggs was sharing online over 1,400 images and videos of child pornography, mostly of infant and toddler girls. The defendant was present at his home when FBI executed a search warrant. He was found in possession of at least 8,000 images of child pornography. The sheer size of his collection made a more exact accounting difficult since he had another 160,000 images across multiple devices. FBI found at least 1,000 images of infants or toddlers, and over 100 sadomasochistic sex abuse images of children.
Paul Andrew Lee, age 54 of Parker, Colorado was arrested after being indicted by a federal grand jury on one count of accessing the Internet with intent to view child pornography. On April 28th, 2017, the defendant appeared in custody before the Honorable Magistrate Judge Mix. The court advised him that because he has at least one prior sex-related conviction, he was facing prison time of not less than 10 nor more than 20 years’ imprisonment, not less than five years nor more than life supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000. The defendant was ordered held without bond by U.S. Magistrate Judge Kristen L. Mix. The charges contained in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Damien Marc Smith, age 45 of Denver, Colorado, was arrested on April 26th, 2017 after being indicted of two counts of distribution and possession of child pornography charges. During the detention hearing on May 1, 2017, the government proffered evidence showing the defendant had been sharing and downloading child pornography for at least 10 years, and that he had been previously fired from a job for viewing child pornography at work, a fact not reported to law enforcement. Shortly before a search warrant was executed on defendant’s residence, an undercover law enforcement officer downloaded approximately 700 images and 250 videos of child pornography from the defendant. One of the videos of child pornography that he was sharing was over two hours long. During the search warrant execution, the defendant was found in possession of at least 140,000 images and videos of child pornography. The defendant had sorted his collection of child pornography into folders on his devices with titles such as “pre-teen hard core,” and “!keepers”. The defendant was ultimately released on bond conditions. If convicted of distribution of child pornography, the defendant faces not less than 5 years, and up to 20 years in federal prison. If convicted of possession of child pornography, he faces up to 10 years' imprisonment. Both counts also carry potential fines of up to $250,000 per count as well as not less than 5 years’ up to lifetime of supervised release. The charges contained in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
These cases were investigated by the FBI and the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force. They are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Valeria Spencer, assigned to the Cybercrime and National Security Section at the Colorado U.S. Attorney’s Office.
David Eugene Reed, age 66, of Longmont, Colorado was sentenced on April 26th, 2017 by U.S. District Court Judge William Martinez to serve 64 months in prison and pay $10,100 in fines and special assessments followed by 10 years of supervised release. Reed was also ordered to pay restitution of $14,500 to the victims of his crime. The sentence was handed down on April 26, 2017, and Reed was remanded into custody at the conclusion of the hearing. According to court records, the FBI executed a search warrant at the defendant’s home in Longmont. Reed, a recent retiree, was present during the search and he told the FBI agents that he had accessed child pornography daily for approximately 15 years, that he attempted to cover up his conduct by running a cleaning tool on his computer every day, and that he searched for child pornography on the “Dark Web” through “Tor” anonymization software. A computer forensic analysis revealed that Reed had amassed 248,150 images and 1,341 videos that depicted the sexual abuse of children. The files were organized on the defendant’s computer by folders bearing the child victims’ names.
This case was investigated by the FBI. The defendant was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David Tonini, assigned to the Cybercrime and National Security Section of the Colorado U.S. Attorney’s Office.