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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 31, 2022

Previously Convicted Sex Offender Sentenced to Over 11 Years in Federal Prison for Possession of Over 500 Depictions of Child Pornography

Defendant Possessed Child Exploitive Material That Depicted the Abuse of Infants

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander sentenced Jason Wade Harley, age 48, of Frederick, Maryland to 135 months in federal prison, followed by 25 years of supervised release, for possession of child pornography.  Harley was also ordered to pay $24,000 in restitution.

The sentence 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; Frederick County State’s Attorney J. Charles Smith; 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).  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 indicative of child pornography.  On another internet account connected to Harley, 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. 

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, the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office, and the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine L. Duey and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Joyce R. King, Chief Counsel of the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office cross-designated to handle this case, who prosecuted the federal 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 and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/project-safe-childhood.

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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Alexis Abbott (301) 344-4342
Updated March 31, 2022