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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 7, 2022

Previously Convicted Sex Offender Pleads Guilty to Possession of Child Pornography

Defendant Possessed Over 500 Depictions of Child Pornography, Including Images That Depicted the Sexual Abuse of Infants

Baltimore, Maryland – Jason Wade Harley, age 49, of Frederick, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to possession of child pornography.   

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Frederick County Sheriff Charles A. “Chuck” Jenkins.

According to Harley’s plea agreement, on February 24, 2020, four suspected child pornographic images were uploaded to the internet.  The internet platform to which the images were uploaded reported the upload to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).  Harley’s name and email address was listed under the information of the subscriber that uploaded the child pornographic material.  Investigators determined that several of the images distributed on the internet platform depicted the sexual abuse of infants and prepubescent minors, and that the upload was linked to Harley’s account.

On August 28, 2020, investigators executed a search warrant at Harley’s residence. As a result of the executed search warrants, investigators located a SIM card within a cell phone that contained two videos of children engaged in sexually explicit activity as well as 499 images of child pornography, including images that depicted the sexual abuse of infants and prepubescent minors.  That same day, Harley admitted to investigators that he sent images of child pornography to online accounts and that he has sexual fantasies involving children.

As stated in his plea agreement, investigators also executed a search warrant for Harley’s online accounts.  Following the review of Harley’s internet activity, investigators discovered evidence that Harley searched multiple phrases including “young sluts.”  On another internet account, investigators discovered 11 additional images of child pornography and conversations between Harley and another internet user.  Within the online communications, Harley stated that he possessed 260 pictures and 130 videos of child pornography in a hidden vault and expressed his interest in sexual abuse of children. 

Harley faces a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum of 20 years in prison followed by up to lifetime of supervised release for possession of child pornography.   U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander has scheduled sentencing for March 31, 2022 at 11:00 a.m.

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 the United States Attorney’s 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 www.justice.gov/psc.  For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.justice.gov/psc and click on the "Resources" tab on the left of the page.

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the FBI and the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christine L. Duey and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Joyce King, who are prosecuting the case.

For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md/project-safe-childhood and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.

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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Alexis Abbott (301) 344-4342
Updated January 7, 2022