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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Redding Man Sentenced to over 11 Years in Prison for Child Pornography Offense

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Michael Ray Robertson, 64, of Redding, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. to 11 years and three months in prison for distribution of child pornography, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, between June 2012 and November 2012, undercover investigators located a computer in the Redding area making child pornography available over a peer-to-peer file sharing service. Agents executed a search warrant at Robertson’s residence and located a computer containing numerous images and videos depicting the sexual exploitation of children and making those files available to others over the internet. On March 24, 2016, Robertson pleaded guilty to distribution of child pornography.

This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) as part of “Operation Sunflower,” which was a nationwide investigation targeting purveyors of child pornography that began in 2012. The name is based on a case in which a sunflower-shaped highway road sign identified in online images led to the rescue of an 11-year-old girl in Kansas. Assistant United States Attorney Matthew G. Morris prosecuted the case.

“Operation Sunflower resulted in more than two dozen arrests in northern California alone and HSI’s tireless work to identify child predators and rescue their unwitting victims are ongoing,” said Ryan L. Spradlin, the special agent in charge who oversees HSI’s investigative efforts throughout northern California. “Bringing the perpetrators of these crimes to justice not only furthers public safety, we believe it also sends a powerful message to those who sexually exploit children online that cyberspace affords no refuge from detection.”

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.

Project Safe Childhood
Press Release Number: 
2:14-cr-086 MCE
Updated August 25, 2016