Due to the lapse in appropriations, Department of Justice websites will not be regularly updated. The Department’s essential law enforcement and national security functions will continue. Please refer to the Department of Justice’s contingency plan for more information.

You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

Friday, July 10, 2015

Acton Man Indicted on Child Pornography Charges

BOSTON – Kenneth Howell, 49, was indicted today on one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.  Howell was arrested and charged in a criminal complaint in May 2015.

In April 2015, Howell first came to the attention of federal agents when chat messages exchanged between another individual and he revealed that Howell was paying to view sex acts performed by minors in the Philippines over the Internet.  In May 2015, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Howell’s home during which time Howell admitted that he downloaded, saved and distributed child pornography, and that he had been trading images of child pornography for four to five years.  A preliminary review of Howell’s computer revealed over 100 videos of child pornography.

The charge of receipt of child pornography provides for a mandatory minimum term of five years and no greater than 20 years in prison.  The charge of possession of child pornography provides for no greater than 20 years in prison. Both statutes provide for a mandatory minimum of five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Michael Shea, Deputy Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, made the announcement today.  Assistance was also provided by the Massachusetts State Police and the Acton Police Department.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eve A. Piemonte of Ortiz’s Major Crimes Unit.

The case is brought as part of Project Safe Childhood.  In 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse.  Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ’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, as well as identify and rescue victims.  For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.     

The details contained in the indictment are allegations.  The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in the court of law.

Updated July 10, 2015