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Justice News

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

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Oak Island Man Sentenced to 35 Years for Receipt of Child Pornography

RALEIGH – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that yesterday, in federal court, United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan sentenced MICHAEL CARL BUTLER, 31, of Oak Island, North Carolina, to 420 months of imprisonment followed by 15 years of supervised release for receipt of child pornography.

BUTLER was named in a three-count Indictment on September 26, 2017.  On December 13, 2017, BUTLER pled guilty pursuant to a plea agreement to receipt of child pornography.

 In January 2017, Homeland Security Investigations utilized undercover software to identify an IP address downloading child pornography and offering such files for download by others. A search warrant was issued for the home address associated with the IP address. During that search, law enforcement confiscated multiple electronic devices belonging to BUTLER. A forensic examination of those devices revealed more than 90 images of child pornography. Further investigation also indicated that BUTLER utilized social media accounts, such as Facebook, to contact and solicit underage girls to commit sexual acts.  BUTLER had previously been convicted of sex crimes against minors and was a registered sex offender under North Carolina law.

This case was part of the Project Safe Childhood initiative, a national program aimed at ensuring that criminals exploiting children are effectively prosecuted by making full use of all available law enforcement resources at every level.  For more information about this important national project, Project Safe Childhood, go to

United States Homeland Security Investigations conducted the criminal investigation of this case.  Assistant United States Attorney Melissa Belle Kessler handled the prosecution of this case for the United States.

Project Safe Childhood
Updated June 7, 2018