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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 11, 2020

Alexandria Man Convicted of Possessing Child Pornography

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A federal district court judge convicted an Alexandria man today on the charge of possession of child pornography.

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Sean Michael McLaughlin, 32, was found after law enforcement downloaded videos containing child pornography from an internet protocol address assigned to the defendant’s home. These videos included prepubescent children engaging in sexual activity, with some children being sexually assaulted by adults or restrained with bondage. Law enforcement subsequently interviewed the defendant, and during his interview, McLaughlin admitted to repeatedly searching for, downloading, viewing, and possessing child pornography. A forensic examination of McLaughlin’s electronics revealed that he possessed child pornography from 2016 to 2018.

McLaughlin faces a maximum punishment of ten years in prison when sentenced on January 20, 2021. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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 U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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 www.justice.gov/psc.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Raymond Villanueva, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C., made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga announced the verdict. Assistant U.S. Attorney Carina A. Cuellar and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Gwendelynn Bills are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:19-cr-367.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Public Affairs joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated September 11, 2020