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Press Release

Federal Jury Finds District Man Guilty of Transporting and Possessing Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Google Reported Defendant for Uploading Videos to his Cloud Storage Account

            WASHINGTON – Stephen Rattley Johnson, 36, of Washington, D.C., was found guilty today of transporting and possessing child pornography. The jury verdict, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, was announced by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, FBI Special Agent in Charge David J. Scott of the Washington Field Office’s Criminal and Cyber Division, and Chief Pamela A. Smith of the Metropolitan Police Department.

            According to court documents and the evidence presented at trial, on September 21, 2020, and October 1, 2020, Johnson uploaded hundreds of child pornography files to his Google Drive cloud storage account. Google identified 220 of the files as known child pornography and closed Johnson’s account. Consistent with its statutory obligations, Google reported the material to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which in turn referred the matter to law enforcement. Investigators obtained the contents of Johnson’s Google account, which included hundreds of child pornography files.

            Law enforcement arrested Johnson on October 7, 2021, and searched his then-residence in the H Street Corridor of Northeast Washington. Among other evidence, law enforcement seized his cellphone and the laptop Johnson had used to upload the child pornography. Although Johnson deleted the child pornography from his computer after Google closed his account, digital forensics experts were able to recover artifacts showing that Johnson had downloaded many of the files as early as April 2020 and that he had opened and watched them. Many of the files are videos depicting the rape and sadistic sexual abuse of prepubescent girls. In addition, Johnson’s web browser history showed that he had navigated to child pornography online—including several of the files he later uploaded to Google—and evidence from his cellphone showed that he continued to seek out child pornography even after Google closed his account.

            The jury found Johnson guilty of five counts of transportation of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.  On the possession count, the jury further found that the child pornography involved minors under 12 years of age, an aggravating circumstance that doubles the statutory maximum sentence. The Honorable Carl J. Nichols, who presided over the trial, has ordered Johnson detained pending sentencing.

            Transportation of child pornography carries a mandatory minimum term of five years in prison and a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison. Possession of child pornography involving minors under 12 years of age carries an enhanced maximum term of 20 years in prison. The offenses also carry potential financial penalties, including mandatory restitution for identified victims.  The maximum statutory penalties for federal offenses are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only. The sentence imposed in this case will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

            The case was investigated by the FBI Washington Field Office and Metropolitan Police Department’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force, the Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and the High Technology Investigative Unit of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS).

            Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul V. Courtney and Special Assistant United States Attorney Ryan Lipes of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia are prosecuting the case.

            The prosecution team received valuable assistance from the High Technology Investigative Unit at CEOS, and all of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialists Marissa Mondelli and Carolyn Carter-McKinley, former Paralegal Specialist Alexis Spencer-Anderson, Victim–Witness Service Coordinator Tonya Jones, Supervisory Litigation Technology Specialist Leif Hickling, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Janani Iyengar and Jocelyn Bond.

            This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the 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

Updated April 17, 2024

Project Safe Childhood
Press Release Number: 24-336