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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

Friday, December 5, 2014

Fort Myers Man Convicted Of Possessing Child Pornography

Fort Myers, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that a federal jury has found Brian Robert Harling (57, Fort Myers) guilty of possessing child pornography. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 2, 2015.

According to testimony presented at trial, on July 4, 2013, a tenant living in a residence owned and previously occupied by Harling found three thumb drives that had fallen from the top of the molding inside a closet.  Harling had moved out three days earlier.  The tenant and her mother contacted the police after they discovered that the thumb drives contained child pornography.  An officer from the Fort Myers Police Department then met with the tenant to retrieve the thumb drives.  The officer also located two additional thumb drives that had been concealed on the ledge of the molding inside the closet.  Approximately 3,000 images and 35 videos depicting child pornography were found on the thumb drives.

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Fort Myers Police Department, with assistance from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Cape Coral Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Yolande G. Viacava.

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 Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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.projectsafechildhood.gov.

Updated January 26, 2015