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Press Release

Thornton resident sentenced to 97 months in federal prison for pssession of child pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado
Defendant was a member of a Lutheran Church leading the 6th grade boys confirmation class

DENVER – Kevin Dale Harlow, age 55, of Thornton, Colorado, was sentenced earlier this week by U.S. District Court Judge Wiley Y. Daniel to serve 97 months (just over 8 years) in federal prison for possession of child pornography.  Following his prison sentence, Harlow was ordered to serve 10 years on supervised release and register as a sex offender.  Further, he was ordered to pay $22,000 in restitution to several victims of his crime (children who were pictured in the child pornography).  Harlow, a member of a Lutheran Church leading a 6th grade boys confirmation class, possessed 3,257 unique child pornography images and 316 unique child pornography videos.

The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney John Walsh and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Denver Special Agent in Charge David Thompson.  Harlow was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on November 4, 2014.  He pled guilty before Judge Daniel on April 23, 2015.  He was sentenced on July 7, 2015.

According to the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, an ICE HSI special agent, working in an official capacity conducting online undercover investigations, was able to access a specific peer-to-peer file-sharing network.  The special agent was able to obtain a list of files reportedly being shared, including 36 files with names indicative of child pornography.  Approximately 15 files depicting child pornography were downloaded through the peer-to-peer file-sharing network by the undercover special agent on that date.

During the investigation it was determined that the files were being shared from a residence in Thornton, Colorado.  In March 2013, the same undercover agent was able to download an additional 26 files of child pornography that were being made available from the same residence.  While the investigation continued, an ICE HSI agent learned that a Sergeant from the Johnstown Police Department had also initiated an investigation related to the specific address targeted by ICE HSI.  The Johnstown Sergeant was also using a law enforcement computer to conduct online undercover activities.  The Sergeant was able to download over 80 image files and more than 15 video files all consistent with child pornography.

Based on this information, a federal search warrant was obtained and executed at the Thornton residence of Kevin Harlow.  It was determined that Harlow was a member of a Lutheran Church and was a leader for the 6th grade boys confirmation class.  When the search warrant was executed, Harlow was in the process of downloading child pornography.  Numerous computers and digital media were seized during the search warrant execution. The investigation also revealed that the search terms Harlow used included:  teens, preteens, girls, boys, and ages such as 7, 9, and 12.  Investigators learned he had a preference for images of children between 10 and 14 years old.

The forensic examination of the computers and digital media seized from Harlow reflected that child pornography was possessed on more than 10 of the devices recovered. These devices contained 3,257 unique child pornography images and 316 unique child pornography videos.  The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) reported that 554 of the image files possessed by Harlow depict minor victims previously identified to law enforcement.  Some of the material portrayed sadistic or masochistic conduct or other depictions of violence.

“Children are victimized in the production of child pornography, and people who possess child pornography fuel that victimization,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.  “The tough sentence handed down by the court in this case is further supported by the fact that this defendant was working closely with children and young people at the same time he was engaged in the collection of child pornography.”

 “This significant prison sentence represents the serious criminal nature of child pornography, and the resulting permanent trauma inflicted on its young and helpless victims,” said David A. Thompson, special agent in charge of HSI Denver.  “Our HSI special agents are specially trained to identify, locate and pursue prosecution against these child predators, and rescue their victims.”

This case was investigated by HSI along with the Johnstown Police Department.

Harlow was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alecia Riewerts, the Project Safe Childhood Coordinator for the District of Colorado.

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 United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (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

Updated July 10, 2015