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Press Release

Newport Woman Sentenced to 162 Months in Prison for Child Pornography Offenses

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

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.- On July 27, 2017, Sierra Danielle Messer, 23, of Newport, Tennessee, was sentenced by the Honorable Thomas A. Varlan, Chief U.S. District Judge, to serve 162 months in prison as a result of her conviction for distribution and possession of child pornography. Following her release from prison, Messer will be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for a term of 25 years and required to register with the sex offender registry in any state in which she resides, works, or attends school.


Messer pleaded guilty in December 2015 to federal charges stemming from an undercover investigation into trading child pornography on the Internet. A forensic examination of her cellular telephone revealed that she had collected 172 digital photos images and 12 videos of child pornography.


This investigation was conducted by U.S. Homeland Security Investigations and Knoxville Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Morris represented the United States.


This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit




Sharry Dedman-Beard
Public Information Officer

Updated July 27, 2017

Project Safe Childhood