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Press Release

Grass Valley Man Sentenced for Child Pornography and Online Child Enticement Crimes

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

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Samuel C. Thompson, 34, of Grass Valley, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. to 10 years and four months in prison for receipt of child pornography and attempting to use the internet to entice a child to engage in sexual activity, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

“Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) (San Francisco and Northern California) is committed to public safety, which includes protecting the children and youth of our communities who are most vulnerable to online predators,” said Ryan L. Spradlin, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations. “We can’t arrest our way out of this problem – the real key to combatting online sexual predators is teaching parents and their children about the dangers of online predators and where to go for help. HSI will continuing working with its federal, state, and local law enforcement partners throughout the Bay Area and Northern California in this crucial endeavor.”

According to court documents, between August 2012 and March 2013, Thompson used a peer-to-peer file sharing software program to download child pornography files from the internet. He was charged in case 2:13-cr-273-GEB with receipt of child pornography and pleaded guilty in May 2016. That case was the product of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations.

According to court documents, in 2016, while Thompson was on supervised pretrial release in the 2013 case, he posted an online advertisement seeking to meet and teach a “younger lover.” After an undercover Placer County Sheriff’s detective replied to the advertisement, Thompson arranged to meet what he believed would be a 13-year-old girl for a sexual encounter. He was arrested when he arrived at a park in Auburn, where he planned to carry out that sexual encounter. He was charged in case 2:16-cr-232-GEB with attempted online enticement of a minor. That case was the product of an investigation by the Placer County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“The FBI will always work with its law enforcement partners to protect the innocence of the children in the communities we serve,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Tom Osborne. “Thompson continued to pose as a threat to minors by attempting to contact a teen for sex while awaiting sentencing for child pornography charges.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew G. Morris prosecuted both cases.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit Click on the “resources” tab for information about internet safety education.

Updated May 17, 2019

Project Safe Childhood
Press Release Number: 2:13-cr-273-GEB & 2:16-cr-232-GEB