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Press Release

USAF Captain Indicted On Child Pornography Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, AR Christopher R. Thyer, Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas announced that Shane Padilla, age 30, of Jacksonville, a Captain in the United States Air Force, was indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday, May 7, 2014,on one count of distribution of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.

Padilla was arrested on a Criminal Complaint, Friday, April 4, 2014. After a bail hearing Tuesday, April 8, 2014, Padilla was released from custody on the condition that he surrenders his passport and his pilot’s license. The conditions also imposed home detention. He is not allowed internet access and is to have no contact with minors.

“Having to prosecute these types of cases is always difficult,” stated Thyer. “It is even more difficult when the indictment is against a member of our armed forces sworn to protect the United States. I am committed to, and consider it one of my highest duties as United States Attorney to prosecute to the full extent of the law those, no matter their position in society, who exploit the innocence of our children.”

According to the Criminal Complaint, this investigation began in May of 2013 as part of a larger investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) agents in Savannah, Georgia. Subsequently, HSI in Little Rock was notified that Padilla, a Captain in the United States Air Force stationed at the Little Rock Air Force Base, had received child Pornography at his email account. A federal search warrant was issued and data regarding Padilla’s email account was provided by Yahoo, Inc. After review of the information, the Complaint alleges that numerous email messages between May 2013 and July 2013 were found to contain images and/or videos of minors engaged in sexually explicit acts.

The United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) was contacted and a military agent was assigned to participate in the investigation. A U.S. Military search warrant was issued and several electronic devices were seized from Padilla. The devices were turned over to an HSI Computer Forensics Analyst after a federal search warrant was issued for the devices. According to the Complaint, the analyst determined that over 1,000 images and 100 videos depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit acts were found on the devices. An arrest warrant was issued and Padilla was arrested April, 4, 2013.

The Indictment alleges that on or about March 27, 2013, Padilla knowingly distributed child pornography. The second charge in the Indictment alleges that from February, 2013, through March 27, 2013, Padilla possessed child pornography.

If convicted, Padilla faces not less 5 years’ imprisonment with a maximum of 20 years’ imprisonment and/or up to a $250,000 fine followed by 5 years of supervised release for the Distribution of Child Pornography charge. The possible sentence for Possession of Child Pornography is not more than 20 years’ imprisonment and/or up to a $250,000 fine followed by 5 years of supervised release.

The investigation was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations with substantial assistance from the United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kristin Bryant.

The charges set forth in an Indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Updated July 16, 2015