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Press Release

Wynne Man Sentenced To 30 Years For Sexual Exploitation Of A Minor

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

LITTLE ROCK—Christopher R. Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, along with Raymond R. Parmer, Jr., Special Agent in Charge of the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New Orleans Field Division, announced today that Joshua Logan Thornton, age 32, of Wynne, was sentenced to 360 months or 30 years in federal prison for Sexual Exploitation of a Minor.

Thursday’s sentencing was before United States District Judge Billy Roy Wilson, and comes following Thornton’s guilty plea on November 24, 2015. Thornton was indicted on October 7, 2015, in a three-count Indictment charging him with sexual exploitation of a minor, distribution of child pornography, and possession of child pornography.

"The internet continues to be the weapon of choice for individuals who exploit children for their own gratification," Thyer said. "Because of this our office reiterates the importance of adults keeping an open line of communication with children in an effort to prevent and detect crimes such as this. A sentence of 30 years sends a strong message that these heinous acts will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted."

On July 24, 2015, Arthur Clements was arrested for possession of child pornography by HSI Baltimore agents. During an interview Clements admitted that he shared child pornography through an internet streaming program with a person named "John," who performed sexually explicit acts with a minor live on the internet streaming program. "John" was later identified as Joseph Thornton of Wynne, Arkansas.

Through forensic analysis of Clements’s computer, law enforcement recovered multiple videos sent to Clements by Thornton. Upon reviewing the videos, law enforcement officers observed a distinctive quilt with yellow and orange butterflies on a turquoise background was present in three videos. The three videos depicted Thornton performing sexually explicit acts on the minor.

On August 6, 2015, HSI agents executed a search warrant at Thornton’s residence in Wynne. Agents seized a number of electronic devices, as well as the butterfly quilt located in the videos.

The minor female admitted that Thornton performed sex acts on her and instructed her not to tell anyone about it.

Thornton provided a full confession. Thornton admitted that he touched the minor sexually with his hands and his penis and that he would do this on live streaming internet. Thornton admitted that the abuse of the minor began eight months prior and stopped the month he learned news that Jared Fogle, the Subway pitchman, was arrested on child pornography charges. Thornton admitted that he shared the images of him and the minor with at least two people on the internet.

HSI agents also forensically examined the computer seized from Thornton’s home and observed approximately 5,000 images of child pornography, including multiple images and videos of the minor.

"Individuals who produce child pornography are directly responsible for what is, in plain language, the rape of children. Production of child pornography steals the innocence of children and destroys lives," HSI New Orleans Special Agent in Charge Raymond R. Parmer Jr. said. "Criminals who prey on children will continue to be one of the agency’s highest priorities in order to protect the innocent from these terrible crimes."

There is no parole in the federal system. When Thornton is released upon completion of his 30 year sentence, he will serve five years of supervised release. Conditions of his supervised release include registering as a sex offender and no contact with minors.

HIS led the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Kristin H. Bryant prosecuted the case for the United States.  

Updated February 18, 2016

Project Safe Childhood