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Press Release

Former Old Dominion University Employee Charged with Child Pornography

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

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A former employee of Old Dominion University’s computer science department pleaded guilty today to receiving images of child sexual abuse.

According to court documents, Christopher J. West, 33, of Virginia Beach, distributed child pornography to an FBI agent working in an undercover capacity in 2016. After an investigation linked the IP address of the downloads to West, the FBI executed a search of West’s apartment in Virginia Beach on April 20. During an interview West admitted he used a file sharing program to download child pornography videos from the internet. Forensic analysis on the electronics seized from West’s residence determined that he had multiple videos of child pornography on his electronic devices.

West pleaded guilty to receipt of child pornography and faces a mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when sentenced on Feb. 21, 2018. 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.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Martin Culbreth, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, made the announcement after U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert J. Krask accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorney Megan M. Cowles is prosecuting the case.

This case is 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 individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims.  For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit and click on the tab “resources” for more information about Internet safety education.

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 is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:17-cr-88.


Joshua Stueve
Director of Communications

Updated October 30, 2017

Project Safe Childhood