Jacksonville Man Pleads Guilty To Receiving Child Sex Abuse Videos And Images Over The Internet
Jacksonville, Florida – Christopher Michael Picher (26, Jacksonville) has pleaded guilty to receiving over the internet videos and images depicting child sexual abuse. He faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 5 years, and up to 20 years, in federal prison, and a potential life term of supervised release. A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled. Picher has been detained since his arrest on March 22, 2018.
According to court documents, in early 2018, agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the FBI conducted an undercover child exploitation investigation and determined that an account with an online data storage company and an account with a popular online mobile messaging app were both being used to receive, distribute, and store child pornography. These accounts were traced to email addresses used by Picher and residences where Picher had lived in 2017 and 2018.
On March 22, 2018, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Picher’s last known residence in Jacksonville. Picher had moved out of this home the day before and had taken his smart phone with him. Further investigation revealed that Picher had relocated to a different residence in Jacksonville. Agents traveled to that residence, where they encountered Picher asleep on the couch. His smart phone was located and recovered.
During an interview, Picher stated that he had been using his smart phone for at least one year, that he had viewed child pornography using the particular mobile messaging app, and that he knew that pictures of child pornography could be posted within the group or that users could send private messages. Subsequent forensic analyses of Picher’s phone revealed that it contained at least 15 videos and at least 1,486 images of child pornography.
This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the FBI, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, and the Clay County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D. Rodney Brown.
It is another case 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 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 www.justice.gov/psc.