You are here

Justice News

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

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Wilson Man Sentenced for Receipt and Possession of Child Pornography

RALEIGH – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that today United States District Judge James C. Dever, III sentenced COURTLAND BARNES, 28, of Wilson, North Carolina, to 168 months of imprisonment followed by ten years of supervised release for receipt and possession of thousands of images and videos containing child pornography.

BARNES was named in an eleven-count Indictment on May 8, 2018.  On October 18, 2018, BARNES pled guilty to all counts in the indictment.

In October of 2014 The Cary Police Department began an online investigation relating to the distribution and receipt of child pornography through file sharing programs. During the course of the investigation, BARNES was found to be downloading and distributing child pornography from an IP address associated with his home.  Homeland Security Investigations secured a search warrant for BARNES’s home and seized multiple electronic devices.  The forensic examination of the devices found 3,839 images and 896 videos containing child pornography. The forensic examination, as well as statements made by BARNES during an interview, indicated that BARNES actively traded child pornography with other individuals on the internet using file sharing programs.

Mr. Higdon stated: “We remain committed to the aggressive prosecution of child pornography and child exploitation cases.  The children depicted in the images and videos this defendant possessed and traded are illegal, immoral and work to victimize the children in them each time they are viewed, traded or used in any way.  We are grateful for the sentence The Court handed down and hope it acts as a deterrent to anyone who would even think of involving themselves in this type of criminal activity.”

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

Homeland Security Investigations conducted the criminal investigation of this case in cooperation with the Cary Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorney Melissa Belle Kessler handled the prosecution of this case for the United States.

Project Safe Childhood
Updated January 30, 2019