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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 30, 2018

Jacksonville Man Sentenced To More Than 12 Years In Federal Prison For Downloading Child Sex Abuse Videos And Images From The Internet

Jacksonville, Florida – United States District Judge Brian J. Davis has sentenced Christopher Michael Picher (age 26, Jacksonville) to 12 years and 7 months in federal prison for using the internet to download videos and images depicting child sexual abuse. Picher was also sentenced to a lifetime of supervised release and was ordered to register as a sex offender. Picher has been in custody since his arrest on March 22, 2018.

According to court documents, in early 2018, agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted an undercover child exploitation investigation. The agents 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. Further investigation revealed that Picher was the user associated with these accounts. On March 22, 2018, HSI and FBI agents and other law enforcement officers executed a federal search warrant at Picher’s residence, he was subsequently arrested.   

During an interview, Picher admitted that he had viewed child pornography using a mobile messaging app, and that he knew that pictures of child pornography could be posted within the group or users could send private messages. Subsequent forensic analyses of Picher’s smartphone revealed that it contained at least 15 videos and 1,486 images depicting child pornography. 

“This case is an example of how criminals are using social media to victimize young children,” said HSI Tampa Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero. “This child predator thought he could remain anonymous as he viewed child pornography, but HSI special agents and our law enforcement partners found him and he will be held accountable for his crimes.”

“This sentence should serve as a warning to those who seek to exploit children, whether in our community or online,” said Charles P. Spencer, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division. “The FBI Jacksonville Division and our law enforcement partners will stop at nothing to identify child predators, and seek truth and justice for their innocent victims.”

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, and the Clay County Sheriff’s Office. It was 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 the 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.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Updated November 30, 2018